Carlos the Jackal on trial nearly 30 years after crimes

PARIS, FRANCE – Carlos, known as the Jackal, is on trial in Paris for crimes committed some 30 years ago, and the courtroom proceedings promise to be colourful, if the first day was anything to go by. His lawyer, who is also his wife, argued that the statute of limitations is not three decades, while the defendant, born in Venezuela as Ilich Ramírez Sánchez blew kisses to a comedian in the audience, looked bored and then at one point leaped to his feet to talk about respecting victims.

Carlos came to fame as a terrorist in the early 1970s when he wounded the head of Marks & Spencers British department store chain, in London. He held several Opec oil ministers hostage in Vienna in 1975 and he is now accused of four bombings in Paris in the early 1980s. Carlos says he wasn’t responsible for them.

French secret service agents kidnapped him in Sudan in 1994 and took him to France, where he was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1997. He is 62 years old.

Wikipedia notes that “Carlos was dubbed “The Jackal” by The Guardian after one of its correspondents reportedly spied Frederick Forsyth‘s novel The Day of the Jackal near some of the fugitive’s belongings.”

Links to other sites: Figaro (Fr), Guardian, Independent, Reuters video