Carlos the Jackal Goes on Trial over 1974 Paris Bombing
Carlos the Jackal, who was behind a series of attacks in France in the 1970s and 80s, is on trial again over a deadly shopping center attack in Paris.
The Venezuelan man, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, is already serving two life terms for several killings in the name of Palestinian and communist causes.
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.
The 67-year-old will appear before three judges in a Paris court on March 13 over a hand grenade attack on a shopping centre in the French capital’s Latin Quarter in September 1974.
Two people were killed and 34 others were injured in the attack.
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez has pleaded not guilty and his lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, said the trial was a waste of time and money.
“What exactly is the point of having a trial so long after the events?” she said.
However, Georges Holleaux, a lawyer representing the victims, said the families relished the chance 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, Carlos the Jackal allegedly said he had carried out the attack in a bid to persuade France to release a Japanese communist militant.
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez 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 movie.
Born in Venezuela, Carlos the Jackal 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, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez 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.
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.
Carlos the Jackal 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.
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was arrested in the Sudanese capital in 1994 by elite French police, 20 years after the first attack for which he was accused.