Violence followed aborted election


A group of 138 men and women of North African origin are on trial for association with criminals. The case illustrates the uneasy relationship between France, the Algerian government and its opponents since the Algiers regime cancelled the December 1991 general election because Islamic movements were winning.

Among the key dates were:

February 1992: Nationalised and private French banks raise $1.5 billion to help the Algerian military regime.

July 1993: France's Gaullist foreign minister, Mr Alain Juppe, formally promises Algeria help in combating "extremism and terrorism".

Summer 1993: France delivers anti-terrorist equipment to the Algerian security forces.

October 1993: Three French diplomats kidnapped in Algeria and released eight days later.

November 1993: Round-up of 110 alleged extremists, including Mohamed Chalabi, who has been in custody ever since. Only five are detained.

November 1994: 170 men and women are arrested because of alleged logistical links with Algerian terrorism. About 30 are released after months in jail.

July 1995: Imam Sahraoui (85), a founder of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), is murdered in Paris. Lawyers accuse Algerian government agents.

July 1995: A bomb kills seven and injures 83 at Saint-Michel Metro station. Four people are killed and scores injured in subsequent similar attacks.

December 1997: Britain deports Mohamed Kerrouche, alias Salim, alleged organiser of a Europe-wide logistical network.