Carlos the Jackal, the self-proclaimed revolutionary who was one of the world’s most wanted terrorists for decades, returned to a Paris court on Monday to appeal his life sentence for orchestrating bombings in France two decades ago.
The fervently pro-Palestinian Marxist, born Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez in Venezuela, and named for Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, is serving two consecutive life sentences, and is appealing the second, handed down in 2011 for a string of deadly bombings in France during the early 1980s, France 24 reported.
The appeal kicked off with Ramirez appearing without his defense lawyers, explaining that because Venezuela is no longer paying his legal fees, he can no longer afford counsel. Speaking in French, he told the court he had “forbidden my lawyers from defending me,” and requested a court appointed attorney.
His 2011 conviction was for orchestrating four bomb attacks in France between 1982 and 1983, which killed 11 people and injured more than 100 others. Already serving life for murder at the time, Ramirez was slapped with a second consecutive life sentence.
At his 2011 trial, Carlos denied any involvement in the bombings while issuing a series of ambiguous pronouncements about his role as a “professional revolutionary” waging a war for the liberation of Palestine and other causes.
In numerous interviews he has given over the years, both before and after his 1994 apprehension, he has acknowledged responsibility or involvement in dozens of attacks which have killed hundreds.
After decades on the run from western security and police services, he was finally arrested in Sudan in 1994 and transferred to France, where he was convicted three years later of the 1975 murder in Paris of two members of the French security services and an alleged informer.
He could yet face a third trial in France as an examining magistrate is still investigating the 1974 bombing of the Drugstore Saint-Germain in the centre of Paris, which left two people dead and 34 injured.
He has not given up hope of securing a transfer to custody in his native Venezuela but it is hard to envisage France sanctioning such a move, given the outrage it would inevitably trigger, France 24 reported.