A former nuclear physicist went on trial in Paris on Thursday on accusations of plotting attacks with the North African wing of Al Qaeda.  But his defenders say he only sent some angry emails and fear he may be unfairly linked with a gunman who recently sowed terror in southern France.  Adlene Hicheur, who used to work at Europe's most prestigious particle accelerator, has been in prison for two and a half years awaiting trial.  Now that the trial has started, his allies worry the timing couldn't be worse: it comes days after France's biggest terror attacks in years.

The Merah case has stirred up such a national fervor that re-election-minded President Nicolas Sarkozy has floated a proposal to make it a crime to repeatedly visit jihadist websites -- in part because French counterrorism officials fear "lone wolf" attacks by militants who self-radicalize online.  And Hicheur's case is all about the Internet.

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