Tue, Mar 06, 2018 - Page 7 News List

A final trial, and soapbox, for the Jackal

MOST WANTED:The man who once bragged of being the top killer in the Palestinian resistance is appealing his third life sentence in a French court

AFP, PARIS

A combination of file pictures on March 28 last year shows, left to right, a portrait of Venezuelan self-styled revolutionary Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, also known as “Carlos the Jackal,” taken in the early 1970s.

Photo: AFP

Self-styled revolutionary Carlos the Jackal is to get his last chance in court as France yesterday started reviewing his life sentence handed down last year over a deadly 1974 bombing in Paris.

It was the third life term for the 68-year-old Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who became one of the world’s most notorious fugitives in the 1970s and 1980s during his pro-Palestinian campaign of terror.

“No one in the Palestinian resistance has executed more people than I have,” Carlos bragged at the start of his trial last year, once again seizing his chance to use the courtroom as a stage for his theatrical diatribes.

However, he has denied any responsibility for the attack at the Publicis Drugstore at Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in the heart of Paris’ Left Bank, more than 40 years ago, when a grenade was thrown from the mezzanine restaurant into the crowded gallery below.

Judges determined that all evidence pointed to Carlos, even though no DNA or fingerprints were found after the bombing, which killed two people and injured 34.

“There are incredible weaknesses in this case: witnesses manipulated by the security services, liars, fake evidence,” said Francis Vuillemin, Carlos’s longtime lawyer, along with Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who has since become his partner.

“We are going to break it all down, and ask for an acquittal,” Vuillemin said.

The trial recalls an era when Europe was repeatedly targeted by professed revolutionary militants, including some claiming to support the Palestinian cause.

Little known at the time of the Drugstore attack, Venezuelan-born Carlos shot to the front pages the following year when his commando group burst into a meeting of the OPEC in Vienna, taking 11 people hostage. Three people were killed.

His singular portrait — with heavily tinted black glasses and a sardonic smile — would capture the public imagination as he spent 20 years on the run, repeatedly giving the slip to international security services.

French police finally arrested him in Khartoum in 1994, and he has been imprisoned ever since.

He was given a life sentence for the murders of two policemen in the French capital in 1975 as well as that of a former comrade who betrayed him.

He was later found guilty of four bombings in Paris and Marseille in 1982 and 1983, some targeting trains, which killed a total of 11 people and injured nearly 150.

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