Carlos the Jackal loses life sentence appeal in France

Paris courtroom sketch of Carlos the Jackal. Photo: 13 May 2013
Image caption Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, alias Carlos the Jackal, describes himself as a professional revolutionary

Self-styled revolutionary "Carlos the Jackal" has lost an appeal against his life sentence for deadly attacks in France in the 1980s.

The Venezuelan, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, has always denied playing any role in the bomb attacks that killed 11 people.

But a court in Paris upheld his jail term on Wednesday.

The 63-year-old, who is also serving a life sentence for a triple murder in 1975, was captured in Sudan in 1994.

By that time he had earned global notoriety as a Marxist militant who masterminded deadly bomb attacks, assassinations and hostage-takings.

Bomb attacks

Ramirez addressed the appeals court for four hours ahead of the judgement.

He said evidence against him had been falsified by "manipulators serving foreign powers" and accused French investigators of being "agents of the American embassy", according to AFP news agency.

After the ruling, his lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre said her client would appeal once again, saying the verdict was decided "without a shred of proof by a discredited justice" system.

Ramirez began his six week-long trial by saying he had decided to drop his lawyers and asking for a court-appointed defence team.

Prosecutors had struggled to secure a conviction until the release of secret files from East Germany's notorious secret police, the Stasi.

During his trial in 2011, Ramirez described himself as a "man of combat" and a "professional revolutionary".

"I am a living archive," he said. "Most of the people of my level are dead."

He also read a text in memory of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who is known to have funded anti-Western attacks.

His convictions in France relate to attacks in 1982-83

  • In March 1982, a bomb exploded on a train between Paris and Toulouse, killing five people and wounding 28.
  • A month later a car bomb attack was mounted on an anti-Syrian newspaper in Paris, with one passer-by killed and 60 injured
  • On New Year's Eve 1983, a bomb on a TGV fast train between Marseille and Paris killed three people and wounded 13, and a bomb at a Marseille train station killed two

Ramirez was born into a wealthy Venezuelan family and studied in Moscow before joining the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He converted to Islam in 1975.

He got his nickname after a copy of Frederick Forsyth's novel The Day of the Jackal was found among his belongings.

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