A Mauritanian court has opened a murder trial for three suspected al-Qaida members accused in the June 2009 slaying of an American teacher in the West African nation.
The trial over the death of Tennessee native Christopher Leggett began Monday in the capital, Nouakchott. Mohamed Abdallahi Ould Ahmednah, Didi Ould Bezeid and Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Khouna could face the death penalty.
Leggett, 39, was fatally shot in the Mauritanian capital, not far from a school he helped run. The North African al-Qaida group claimed responsibility, saying they killed him because he allegedly was trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.
Extremist violence in Mauritania, a moderate Muslim nation, has increased in recent years.