'Carlos the Jackal' convicted for 1980s attacks in France

Venezuelan militant – already in prison for triple murder in 1975 – gets another life sentence
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The Independent Online

Carlos the Jackal – terrorist, gun for hire and self-proclaimed revolutionary – has been jailed for life for organising four attacks that left 11 dead and injured more than 140.

The Jackal, otherwise known as Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, instigated the attacks in 1982 and 1983 and was convicted yesterday in a Paris court where he was sentenced to life imprisonment and told it will be at least 18 years before he can be freed on parole.

He is already serving a life sentence for triple murder in 1975 but was brought back to court six weeks ago to face trial for the bomb attacks that took place in France in the early 1980s.

Three suspected accomplices were also tried but in absentia. Palestinian Kamal Al-Issawi and German Johannes Weinrich were convicted and jailed for life, but Christa Margot Fröhlich was acquitted.

Weinrich, a former member of Germany's violent far-left Red Army Faction, is already serving a prison term in Germany, but Al-Issawi's whereabouts are unknown.

The first of the attacks was on a train travelling from Paris to Toulouse in March 1982 and killed five people. A Paris car bomb aimed at an anti-Syrian newspaper a month later killed a passer-by and injured 60. And on New Year's Eve 1983, a bomb at Marseilles station killed two while another placed on a train between Paris and Toulouse killed three.

Ramirez, now 62, was dubbed Carlos the Jackal when a copy of Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal was found among his possessions. As a Marxist urban guerilla he was linked to hijackings and bombings for revolutionary organisations and extremist pro-Palestinian groups. In the Cold War he had backing from the Soviet Union and from some Middle East countries. He is notorious for killing three people in an attack on Opec's Vienna headquarters.

In the UK he is suspected of shooting and wounding Edward Sieff, president of Marks & Spencer, and for a grenade attack on an Israeli bank. In Germany he has been linked to the 1972 slaughter of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. He was eventually seized by French special forces in Sudan in 1994.

During the trial he described himself as a "professional revolutionary" and gave a five-hour closing testimony, devoting part of it to a homage to Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's deposed dictator. "This man did more than all the revolutionaries," he said between sobs. "Long live the revolution!"

Earlier the Venezuelan-born revolutionary said: "I am a living archive. Most of the people of my level are dead." He denied all the charges.

His lawyer said Ramirez was the victim of a politicised process and criticised investigators for using archives of former Communist bloc countries to help in the prosecution. Lawyers for the victims welcomed the trial, nearly three decades after the attacks.