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Man Arrested at French Airport Victim of Family Feud - 2003-01-10

French police say a man arrested at a Paris airport after explosives and weapons were found in his car was the victim of an elaborate scheme to get him in trouble. The man has been released from custody and his original accuser is now in jail. Police feared was a terrorist plot has apparently turned out to be a family feud.

Police arrested Abderazak Besseghir two weeks ago after finding five sticks of plastic explosive and two automatic weapons in his car parked in a lot at Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris. A former member of the French Foreign Legion had tipped off police, saying he had seen the suspicious items in the car.

Mr. Besseghir works as a baggage handler at the airport. He protested his innocence, saying he had no idea how the explosives and weapons got in his car, and suggested he had been set up. Police now agree. They say a former legionnaire, who was working at the airport as a security guard, has admitted that he tried to frame Mr. Besseghir. The motive was revenge - Mr. Besseghir's wife died in a house fire last summer. Members of her family hold him responsible, and some of them reportedly plotted with the former soldier. The security guard and at least one accomplice are now in jail.

Police were alarmed by the discovery of the explosives which were said to be ready to detonate - especially when they found that the car belonged to someone with a security pass giving him access to passenger and freight areas of De Gaulle airport. Mr. Besseghir, who along with other baggage handlers recently underwent a rigorous security screening, has never been convicted of any crime.