France charges three Chechens for conspiring with terrorists

French police have arrested three ethnic Chechens and charged them with conspiring with various terrorist networks. Russian officials reportedly link the three to the group of notorious warlord Doku Umarov.

Originally three men and two women were arrested, but the women were later set free. Later a fourth man, an imam who immigrated to France from Chechnya six years ago, was briefly detained.

All three arrestees had links with an unnamed man, who had been arrested in Moscow in November 2009 for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. He had the status of a political refugee in France, investigators said.

The man arrested by Russian authorities reportedly had connections with the terrorist organization of Doku Umarov – one of the most wanted of Russia's North Caucasus militant leaders.

Umarov claimed responsibility for organizing the attacks on the Moscow metro system in March. He's also suspected of many other attacks and bombings across the country and believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda.

In June, Washington also put him on a wanted list of international terrorists.

The arrest came in response to a tip-off from Russian authorities, who informed the police in western France they had potential terrorists living there.