Ten defendants have gone on trial in the French capital on charges that they helped finance the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an extremist group accused of links to Al-Qaeda.
The suspects, who are described as mainly of Turkish origin, are alleged to have collected thousands of dollar from people at mosques in French cities to send to the IMU between 2003 and 2008.
They were arrested in 2008 in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Lawyers for at least two of the defendants have rejected the charges, saying the money was collected for “humanitarian” uses.
The IMU, which was formed to overthrow the Uzbek government and create an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia, is officially considered a terrorist group by the United States.
In October 2001, the UN Security Council formally listed the IMU as being “associated” with Al-Qaeda.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and RFE/RL