Rachid Ramda lost a drawn-out battle to prevent his extradition after being held in high-security British jails since he was arrested on a French warrant shortly after the attacks in 1995.
Dominique de Villepin, the French prime minister, said on France 3 television: “Justice will finally be done. I think about the loved ones, the families of the victims, about all those who have suffered during these years.”
Judicial sources said Ramda, 35, arrived at Le Bourget airport north of Paris on Thursday, shortly after the French Justice Ministry announced that he was on his way to France.
He was greeted by police who notified him of the charges against him and was then transferred to the law courts where a judge also notified him of the charges, the sources said.
Paris metro attack
The charges are expected to cover the Paris metro attack and alleged membership of a terrorist group.
“I think about the loved ones, the families of the victims, about all those who have suffered during these years”
Dominique de Villepin,
The High Court in London upheld a decision in November by Charles Clarke, Britain‘s home secretary, to extradite Ramda. Previous attempts to send him back to France had foundered in the courts.
The case has been a major sticking point in relations between Britain and France, which accused London of acting as a haven for Islamic hardliners, especially from North Africa.
Ten people were killed and nearly 250 injured in bomb attacks in France in 1995.
Algeria‘s Armed Islamic Group (GIA) claimed responsibility for the attacks, the worst of which was a bomb packed with nails and bolts at the St Michel underground station in central Paris.
Ramda’s lawyers had argued that he might be mistreated in France or deported from there to Algeria. But Lord Justice David Keene finally ruled that Clarke was acting within his powers when he concluded that Ramda would be treated fairly.