Nuclear Scientist Arrested for Alleged al-Qaeda Ties

CERN says researcher didn't work on dangerous projects
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2009 2:07 PM CDT
The last element, weighing 100 tons, of the ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) experiment is lowered into the cave at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, FILE)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – French authorities have arrested a researcher working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) on suspicion that he has been in contact with al-Qaeda. Police say they believe the 32-year-old and his brother contacted people linked to the terror group online, and they had been planning an attack in France. CERN says the man’s work “did not bring him into contact with anything that could be used for terrorism.”

The researcher, who is of Algerian descent, was an employee of LHC Beauty, an outside contractor using CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to study the differences between matter and antimatter through “beauty quarks.” Police say the brothers had expressed a desire online to carry out attacks, the BBC reports, but they don’t think they’d “got to the stage of carrying out material acts of preparation.”