A former paratrooper has been charged with inciting an army revolt in an alleged bid to overthrow President Emmanuel Macron of France.
Christian Maillaud, 53, who also served in the French police force, is accused of being part of a plot by the conspiracy theorist group QAnon.
Maillaud was discovered hiding in France and is one of four former officers to be arrested in connection with a fringe online group called the National Council of Transition, which advocates rebellion against the political establishment and subscribes to the doctrines of the US QAnon movement.
“He belongs to a creed,” the prosecutor for the Allier region told Le Figaro newspaper.
“The aim is to completely change the French political system, uniting the far right, the far left, the yellow vest movement and conspiracy theorists, in order to create a new world."
It is alleged the network contacted serving officers in the police and armed forces and judiciary personnel accusing them of serving a corrupt state and warned them that they risked prosecution by future “people’s tribunals” unless they disobeyed orders.
Mr Maillaud is also accused of breaching his release conditions after serving two years of a four-year sentence for helping a woman to plan the abduction of her children from their father.
QAnon promotes unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and a belief that the world is run by Satan-worshipping paedophiles.
Last year it alleged, without proof, that the coronavirus is a conspiracy by that group to control people using vaccines and 5G.
Facebook banned the group last year and removed all pages, groups and Instagram accounts affiliated with it.
Earlier this year, a group of retired French generals raised the prospect of a military coup and accused Mr Macron of failing to get a grip on Islamist extremism.
In April, they wrote an open letter saying that France risked a civil war, saying the country was disintegrating under pressure from “Islamism and the hordes of youths”.