A French court has put a physicist working at CERN in Switzerland under formal investigation for suspected “conspiracy with a terrorist enterprise”. An official identified him as Adlène Hicheur, a French physicist born in Algeria. Hicheur and his brother were arrested in Vienne, France, on suspicion of contacts with an individual in the Islamic Maghreb, a Sunni extremist group in Algeria affiliated with al-Qaeda. While Hicheur has not been charged with a crime, there are allegedly incriminating emails and other communications. Under French law, a person in a terrorism case can be held under “provisional detention” with no time limit. Hicheur is part of a 49-member team from the Laboratory for High Energy Physics at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne that is working on one experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
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