'Carlos the Jackal' trial opens in Paris

Carlos the Jackal's lawyer Francis Vuillemin

Carlos, a Venezuelan whose real name is Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez, was dubbed "Carlos the Jackal" by the press when he was giving worldwide security services the slip while on the run.

PARIS Carlos the Jackal, once one of the world's most wanted criminals, was back in a French court on Monday, charged with a grenade attack on a Paris shop more than 40 years ago that killed two people.

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.

Venezuelan Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, 67, was once the world's most-wanted fugitive, but has been serving a life sentence in France for murders and attacks committed on behalf of the Palestinian cause in the 1970s and 1980s.

Carlos was arrested in Sudan and whisked to France in a sack by French intelligence services in 1994.

The press gave him his nickname after a reporter saw a copy of Frederick Forsyth's "The Day of the Jackal" at Ramirez's London flat and mistakenly assumed it belonged to him.

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It's probably the last case concerning his past to come to trial.

His lawyer said the trial is a waste of time and money. "Their wounds have never healed", lawyer Georges Holleaux said.

The prosecution says the attack was linked to a hostage-taking at the French embassy in The Hague that had begun two days earlier, on September 13, 1974. Carlos denies the charges, which include "murders carried out with a terrorist organization".

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 almost 150. Investigators came to this conclusion after finding out that the grenade used in the attack was from the same batch as those thrown by the Hague hostage-takers - which also happen to be the same ones that had been stolen from a USA military base in 1972.

Arab-language magazine, Al-Watan Al-Arabi, published an interview five years after the attack, with a man alleged to be Ramirez Sanchez. One was also found at the Paris home of Carlos' mistress. In 2014, Carlos the Jackal hurled anti-Semitic verbal attacks on a female prison official, calling her "Israeli", "Zionist", and a "dirty Jew", as previously reported by the Jerusalem Post.


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