Carlos the Jackal gets life for 1974 attack

A court sketch of Carlos, who is serving life sentences for deadly attacks in the 1970s and 1980s, at his trial.
A court sketch of Carlos, who is serving life sentences for deadly attacks in the 1970s and 1980s, at his trial.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS • A French court sentenced Carlos the Jackal, once one of the world's most wanted criminals, to life imprisonment yesterday for a 1974 grenade attack on a Paris shop that killed two people.

The Venezuelan, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, 67, is already serving a life sentence in France for deadly attacks in the 1970s and 1980s.

Carlos was the most wanted fugitive in the 1970s and early 1980s, when Europe was repeatedly targeted by groups sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. He has been in prison in France since he was arrested by French elite police in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in 1994.

He was dubbed "Carlos the Jackal" by the press when he gave international security services the slip while on the run. The nickname came from a fictional terrorist in the 1971 Frederick Forsyth novel, The Day Of The Jackal, which was turned into a popular film.

A sharp dresser with a taste for theatrics, Carlos boasted at the start of the trial two weeks ago: "No one in the Palestinian resistance has executed more people than I have."

He has claimed personal responsibility for 80 deaths, but repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack on the Drugstore Publicis pharmacy in an affluent district of Paris that claimed two lives and injured 34.

However, at one point during the trial, he said: "Maybe it's me, but there's no proof of it."

Carlos argued that he should not be required to testify against himself, and said he faced death if he divulged operational information.

Little known at the time of the Drugstore Publicis attack, Carlos rose to international notoriety the following year when his commando group burst into a meeting of the powerful Opec oil cartel in Vienna, taking 11 people hostage.

Carlos is serving life sentences for the murders of two policemen in Paris in 1975, and that of a former comrade who betrayed him. He was also 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.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2017, with the headline 'Carlos the Jackal gets life for 1974 attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe