The Venezuelan Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, known as Carlos “The Jackal”, appeared this Wednesday before the court that must set the penalty for his responsibility in a 1974 Paris shopping arcade bombing that left two dead.
This new trial, ordered in November 2019 by the Court of Cassation, will last until Friday and will study only the duration of the sentence, since justice has already firmly established his guilt. The sentence previously imposed was life imprisonment.
The 71-year-old defendant, in prison in France since his capture in 1994 on Sudan, entered the dock shortly before 9:45 a.m. smiling, dressed in a dark jacket and blue shirt, and with the mask under his nose. “I’ve been on a forced vacation for 27 and a half years”, He told the president of the court when he urged him to identify himself. In his first words, he denounced the search of his clothes, assuring that in 27 years they have never found anything on him.
Carlos “The Jackal” was sentenced in March 2017 to life imprisonment, a sentence confirmed in an appeal court a year later, for throwing a grenade into the gallery Drugstore Publicis from Paris in 1974, leaving two dead and 34 wounded.
The Court of Cassation partially annulled the second sentence, which had found the Venezuelan guilty of murders and attempted murder for “effect of explosive power“And to transport”an explosive device for no legitimate reason”.
This court, the highest judicial hierarchy of France, considered that the transport of the grenade was “a preliminary operation necessary for the commission of the other crimes”And estimated that Carlos he had been convicted twice for the same act.
This figure of the armed struggle “anti-imperialist”From the years 1970-1980 she was already sentenced twice to life for a triple murder in 1975 in Paris and four bomb attacks in France in 1982 and 1983 (11 dead and 191 wounded).
The terrorist attack
The attack on Drugstore Publicis took place on September 15, 1974 in Paris. At around 5:10 PM, a grenade from an upstairs restaurant exploded on the ground floor of the then popular shopping arcade.
For the prosecution, the attack sought to facilitate the release of a Japanese detained in Orly, member of the Japanese Red Army, a Japanese far-left armed group that had simultaneously kidnapped hostages at the French embassy in Hague. This movement was close to a branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FPLP) of which Carlos had become one of his armed arms in Europe.
Lack of ADN and of confession, the Venezuelan was convicted of a series of elements of the charge, among them the testimony of a repentant former comrade in arms, Hans Joachim Klein.
According to the investigation, the grenade used in Drugstore came from the same lot stolen from a military base in Germany that some found in the house of the lover of Carlos and that those abandoned in hostage-taking in Hague. Carlos himself had claimed this action in an interview at the end of 1979 in the magazine El-Watan Al-Arabi. The defendant denied having given such an interview.
In his appeal trial, in March 2018, “The jackal”He recounted his years of flight and political struggle, assuring that violence had been“ imposed ”on him, but he avoided acknowledging the crimes for which he was convicted.
Ilich Ramírez Sánchez was born on October 12, 1949 in Caracas. His father was a Marxist business lawyer who named his other two sons Lenin and Vladimir. At 15 he joined the Venezuelan Communist Party, then clandestine, and then goes to study at Moscow, to the University Patrice Lumumba.
At the beginning of 1971 and after passing through a training camp in Jordan joined to Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FPLP) led by George Habash. Being in the FPLP would adopt his nom de guerre, ‘Carlos‘, to whom the British newspaper The Guardian added the nickname ‘The Jackal’.
The French services in charge of investigating the activities in France of the FPLP they discover Carlos on June 27, 1975, when the apartment of a Venezuelan was raided by indications of a Lebanese informant. En su huida, Carlos he kills two Parisian policemen and the Lebanese who betrayed him.
In those years, he had been implicated in a multitude of actions, including a grenade attack in the gallery Drugstore Publicis from Paris in September 1974, which left two dead and 34 wounded.
In those same days he was involved in hostage-taking at the French embassy in Hague, and later in a failed missile attack on the Parisian airport in Orly (January 1975) or the supervision of the spectacular kidnapping of ministers of the OPEC on One (December 1975).
Between 1982 and 1983, Carlos “the Jackal” will be behind four other bomb attacks in France, which caused 11 deaths and 191 injuries: on a train between Paris and Toulouse, on the street Marbeuf on Paris, at the station Marsella and on a high-speed train between Marsella and Paris.
After stays in various Arab countries or Eastern Europe under communist rule, Carlos installs in Damascus in 1983. Eleven years later, in August 1994, French secret agents capture him in Sudan and they take it to France.
The trials follow one after another. In December 1997 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the triple homicide during his escape in June 1975.
In December 2011 he received another life sentence for the 1982-1983 attacks and, in March 2018, he was sentenced to life again for the attack on the store Drugstore Publicis 1974.
But in November 2019, the Court of Cassation it partially annulled this last sentence and ordered the holding of a new process to determine the length of the sentence, while maintaining the guilty verdict on the murders and attempted murders.
This process will take place from September 22 to 24 in Paris.
(With information from AFP and international agencies) .-