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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechen Rebel Trial Opens in Paris

PARIS -- Twenty-seven people went on trial in a Paris court on Monday under heavy security on suspicion of helping Islamic fighters in Chechnya -- and possibly planning an attack in France.

The defendants face charges of criminal association with ties to a terror group. They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Dozens of police, some with sniffer dogs, patrolled the halls outside the Paris courtroom. Inside, dozens more officers kept watch in and around a special glassed-in dock in which 16 defendants sat. The 11 other defendants remain free pending trial, and nine of them were in court Monday. Several defendants asked for interpreters, adding to a scene of confusion in the courtroom.

The presiding judge, Jacqueline Rebeyrotte, began the proceedings by calling up the defendants in a first day devoted primarily to procedural issues. The trial is expected to run until May 12.