Rachid Ramda, 36, was convicted on Wednesday for his role as the banker for Algerian fighters who carried out bombings of the Paris metro system that claimed eight lives and injured hundreds.

Ramda was found guilty of giving logistical support to the attackers.

The bombings were the worst seen in France since the second world war.

At the start of the trial last month, Ramda proclaimed his innocence and expressed sympathy for victims of the attacks.

Originally arrested by British detectives in November 1995 on a French warrant, Ramda was the subject of a 10-year extradition battle with Britain, which finally handed him over in December.

Criminal association

Relatives of victims attended the
trial in Paris

He was convicted for "criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise" for three of the attacks.
 
The charges related only to the preparation of the attacks, which were blamed on the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA).

Ramda faces a second trial for his role in the actual bombings.

The trial was cut short after only four sessions because Ramda told his lawyers not to defend him, describing the proceedings as "scandalous", and refusing to leave his prison cell.

Ramda's lawyer said he will appeal against the ruling.

Four years ago, a French court sentenced two Algerians, previously convicted of membership in the GIA, to life imprisonment for the attacks.