Carlos the Jackal faces trial again in France

Kristopher Drake
March 14, 2017

"The victims have been waiting so long for Carlos to be judged and convicted".

The Jackal became one of the world's most wanted fugitives after an operation in which he took OPEC oil ministers hostage in the name of the Palestinian struggle.

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.

Carlos the Jackal, considered by many as the most notorious terrorist in the 1970s and 80s, is set to face trial in France again for allegedly committing a 1974 grenade attack in the city.

The Venezuelan-born Ilich Ramirez Sanchez is accused of throwing a hand grenade from a mezzanine restaurant onto a shopping area in the French capital's latin Quarter.

With attention in France now focused on the threat of Islamist attacks, "the trial in Paris will reach back to a time when Europe was repeatedly targeted by ruthless groups sympathetic to the Palestinian cause", says The Guardian.

Sanchez, who has spent the last 23 years in a high-security prison, is accused of throwing a grenade into the Drugstore Publicis in Paris on September 15, 1974, killing two men and wounding 34 people.

His long-time lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, claims that none of the witnesses had described a man resembling her client, and that the whole case was trumped-up.

The prosecution says the attack was linked to a hostage-taking at the French embassy in the Dutch capital, The Hague, that had begun two days before. "Their wounds have never healed".

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.

The Jackal was found guilty of a total of four bombings in Paris and Marseille in which 11 people were killed and up to 150 injured in the early 1980s.

Ramirez Sanchez has pleaded he is innocent and denied involvement, but an Arab language news magazine published a 1979 interview with a man it identified as Ramirez Sanchez who claimed responsibility for the attack. Another grenade from the same batch was found inside the Paris home of Carlos's mistress as well. Carlos denies the charges, which include "murders carried out with a terrorist organization". "Democracy has two principal enemies - totalitarianism, and terrorism", he said, suggesting that Carlos is among "those who threaten democracy by their actions".

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