Algerian academics held

September 22, 1995

Three Algerian academics have been arrested in Lyons, France, in a police swoop on networks allegedly supporting Algeria's banned extremist group, the GIA (Armed Islamic Group).

The three have been charged with criminal conspiracy and detained. Police investigators say the charge is based on "recognised and confirmed material elements".

French media reports said that the three were believed to have provided "technical expertise" to another detainee suspected of supplying arms to the GIA.

Ali Drif, an engineer, worked in a teaching laboratory at the National Institute of Applied Science (INSA) in Lyons. Kamel-Heddine Ouadou and Sebti Bouabdallah lectured at the Lyons Ecole Central, an applied science grande ecole.

Although some newspapers described the arrests as the "dismantling" of a "network of scientists" there is no indication that the group went beyond the three arrested.

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