Convicted murderer Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better-known to the world as ‘Carlos the Jackal’, faces a new trial today in France accused of masterminding a series of terrorist acts nearly 30 years ago.
The 62-year-old was arrested and imprisoned in 1994 when he was captured by French secret-service agents in Sudan. He was convicted three years later, and given a life sentence, for killing two French policemen and an informant.
Today’s trial is in connection with four bombing attacks that killed 11 people and wounded around 200 more in 1982. Prosecutors say the attacks were revenge attacks for the arrest of two of his gang members, including his lover. A seven-judge panel will hear his case.
Ramirez built an international reputation as a left-wing guerilla and is widely believed to be the mastermind behind several headline-grabbing bombings, assassinations and hostage-takings. In 1975 his group took 11 ministers hostage at an OPEC meeting in Vienna in the name of the Palestinian struggle. The latter was Ramirez’ first and principle cause but he also had a hand in many other anti-imperialist operations. A life on the run meant he was paid and given shelter and papers by various governments, especially as the end of the Cold War increasingly denied him the help of Soviet paymasters.