Carlos the Jackal denounces latest France terror trial

image copyrightAFP
image captionThe man known as Carlos the Jackal denies responsibility for the shopping centre attack

Carlos the Jackal, the Venezuelan man behind a series of attacks in France in the 1970s and 80s, has appeared in court to denounce being prosecuted over a deadly Paris shopping centre attack.

He condemned "scavenging" lawyers and "Zionist interests".

Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, is already serving two life terms for killings in the name of Palestinian and communist causes.

But he denies carrying out a grenade attack on the centre in September 1974.

Two people were killed and 34 others were injured in the attack.


In an often rambling statement in the Paris court on Monday, the 67-year-old said that any murders he had committed were carried out in the name of "the revolution".

image copyrightEPA
image captionRamirez's lawyer and long-term partner Isabelle Coutant-Peyre was in court to defend him on Monday
image copyrightEPA
image captionPaperwork relating to the shopping centre case is voluminous

"No-one has executed more people than me in the Palestinian resistance," he said, "[and] I am the only survivor. In all the fighting, there were collateral victims, it's unfortunate," he said.

Wearing a jacket with a red pocket handkerchief, Ramirez smiled and blew kisses upon first appearing in the dock before kissing the hand of his lawyer and long-term partner, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre.

He then embarked on a diatribe in which he condemned wealthy "Zionist interests" who he said were eager to crush anybody who stood up to Israeli aggression.

He said that lawyers prosecuting him for the shopping centre attack in Paris 43 years ago were "scavengers" for forcing him back to court.

Carlos the Jackal was given his nickname when he was one of the world's most wanted terror suspects.

He spent years on the run before being captured in 1994 in Sudan.

Ms Coutant-Peyre on Monday described his latest trial as a waste of time and money.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionRamirez in court in an earlier trial in 2000

"What exactly is the point of having a trial so long after the events?" she said.

But Georges Holleaux, a lawyer representing the victims, said the families wanted the chance finally to see him in court.

"The victims have been waiting so long for Ramirez to be judged and convicted. Their wounds have never healed," he said.

In a newspaper interview which he later disavowed, Ramirez allegedly said he had carried out the attack in a bid to persuade France to release a Japanese communist militant.

Who is Carlos the Jackal?

Ramirez was dubbed Carlos the Jackal by the press, named after the fictional terrorist in the 1971 Frederick Forsyth novel, The Day of the Jackal, which was turned into a popular film.

Born in Venezuela, he was considered one of the most notorious political terrorists of the 1970s and 80s.

By the age of 24, he had joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and began his training as a militant revolutionary.

A few years later, he launched his first attack - on Joseph Edward Sieff, the then president of the Marks and Spencers retail chain in London. Sieff, a prominent Jewish figure, survived a gunshot wound to the head.

image copyrightEPA
image captionRamirez became a leading figure in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The self-professed "professional revolutionary" has since been found guilty of four bomb attacks in Paris and Marseille in 1982 and 1983, which killed 11 people and injured 150.

He was first convicted by a French court 20 years ago, and again in 2011 and 2013. If convicted of first degree murder charges, he could get a third life sentence.

Ramirez was arrested in the Sudanese capital in 1994 by elite French police, 20 years after the first attack for which he was accused.

What are the attacks Ramirez was involved in?

  • 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
  • A bomb at a Marseille train station killed two
  • He has also been linked to several other attacks outside France

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