Carlos the Jackal on trial for 1974 Paris attack

The Venezuelan militant known as Carlos the Jackal, once one of the world's most wanted men, stands trial over a 1974 grenade attack on a shop in Paris.ST VIDEO: AMANDA WONG
The 67-year-old will be tried for the bombing of a shop, which killed two men and injured 34.
The 67-year-old will be tried for the bombing of a shop, which killed two men and injured 34.

PARIS (AFP)• Carlos the Jackal, once the world's most wanted fugitive in the 1970s and early 1980s, has gone on trial in France for the deadly bombing of a Paris shop more than 40 years ago.

The 67-year-old convict cut a grizzled, thinner figure yesterday as he was led smiling into a courthouse in Paris, where he is serving a life sentence for other attacks.

He kissed the hand of his lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who is also his partner.

The trial goes back to a time when Europe was repeatedly targeted by groups sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Carlos, a Venezuelan whose real name is Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez, was dubbed "Carlos the Jackal" by the press when he was giving 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.

Arrested in Sudanese capital Khartoum in 1994 by French police, the man who describes himself as a "professional revolutionary" is already serving a life sentence for the murders of two policemen in the French capital in 1975 and that of a Lebanese revolutionary.

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.

Over the next three weeks, he will be tried over yet another deadly attack, this time on Drugstore Publicis, a busy shop in the heart of Paris' Left Bank. In the late afternoon of Sept 15, 1974, a grenade was lobbed into the entrance of the store, killing two men and leaving 34 people injured.

Carlos, who is charged with murders of a terrorist nature, denies any involvement.

Ms Coutant-Peyre said the trial, which is set to run for three weeks, was a waste of time and money.

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

Al-Watan Al-Arabi magazine published an interview in 1979 in which Carlos is said to have admitted that he had carried out the attack. He has since denied giving the interview.

The prosecution said a grenade used in the attack was from the same batch used in a hostage-taking at the French embassy in The Hague and another was found at the Paris home of Carlos' mistress.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2017, with the headline 'Carlos the Jackal on trial for 1974 Paris attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe