Man accused of Paris attacks handed terror-linked charges

A man accused of fatally stabbing a tourist and injuring two other people at the weekend near the Eiffel Tower was placed under investigation on Wednesday on charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with a terrorist organisation, the prosecutor’s office said.

An investigating magistrate handed Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab the preliminary charges at the request of anti-terrorism prosecutors.

The judge ordered him placed in isolation.

Under French law, preliminary charges precede any indictment, which comes after an investigation and would send the suspect to trial. Charges also can be dropped.

Rajabpour-Miyandoab, 26, is accused of killing a German-Filipino tourist at a bridge near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday.

He was under surveillance for suspected Islamic radicalisation at the time, and had been convicted and served prison time for a planned attack that never took place.

The stabbing has drawn special concern from French authorities less than a year before the 2024 Paris Olympics, whose opening ceremony is planned along the Seine river.

It has also raised questions about how people convicted of terrorism-linked crimes can move about freely after serving their sentences.

Rajabpour-Miyandoab told police he was concerned about the situation of Muslims, notably in Afghanistan and the Middle East amid the war between Israel and Hamas.

He recorded a video before the attack in which he swore allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group and expressed support for Islamic extremists in various areas including Africa, Iraq, Syria, Egypt’s Sinai, Yemen, Iran and Pakistan, anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said.

He was under psychiatric treatment and was on a special list of feared radicals, the prosecutor said.

The investigating judge handed the suspect, born in France of Iranian origin, the preliminary charges that noted he was allegedly in a “legal state of relapse”, meaning he could repeat offences, the statement said.

The judge also handed down a charge of of association with terrorist criminals for the preparation of one or more crimes targeting people.

Rajabpour-Miyandoab was born in 1997 in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, outside Paris, to a family with no religious affiliation.

He converted to Islam at the age of 18 and quickly adhered to Islamic extremist ideology, Mr Ricard told a news conference on Sunday.

In 2016, he was convicted and imprisoned for four years until 2020 on a charge of planning violence.