The notorious self-styled and style-obsessed revolutionary has been convicted forty-three years after the attack that killed two people. The pro-Palestine militant was once one of the world's most-wanted fugitives.
Parisian judge Francois Sottet handed down the ruling on Tuesday, providing long-awaited legal closure to the September 15, 1974 Drugstore Publicis bombing that killed two people and injured 34 in the bustling Paris neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
On Monday, prosecutor Remi Crosson du Cormier had called for Carlos to be sentenced to life imprisonment and judged "in the name of the law and out of respect for the victims."
Carlos is already serving two life sentences for his participation in a series of bomb attacks in 1982 and 1983 that killed eleven people, and for the 1975 murder of two French policemen and a Lebanese informant.
The militant has been in a French prison since his capture in 1994 in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. The defense team plans to appeal.
In his closing statement before the verdict, Carlos, replete with his trademark breastpocket kerchief, referred to the trial as "absurd" and blew kisses to his supporters.
Drawn-out judicial proceedings
The defense team presented challenges at every step of the judicial proceedings.
Carlos' lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre described the court process as "obviously a political trial" and "paleontology," arguing the the decades-long lapse of time since the 1974 attack had decreased the reliability of eyewitness testimony. The defense also highlighted discrepancies in the original eyewitness testimony.
However, prosecutor Crosson du Cormier pointed to the broad consistency of eyewitness evidence. "All evidence gathered in this investigation points to him," Crosson du Cormier had argued on Monday.
The prosecutor also cited expert accounts that the grenade used in the Paris was part of a cache robbed from a US military depot in Germany. Similar grenades were used by pro-Palestinian militants during a hostage-taking operation at the French Embassy in the Hague that took place a few days prior to the drugstore attack.
During the two-week long trial, Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, claimed he should not be forced to testify against himself. Although he repeatedly denied responsibility for the drugstore attack, he said during one point of the trial, "Maybe it's me, but there's no proof of it."
"I am no innocent, but this trial is an absurdity from every point of view," Carlos added in his final statement.
World's most-wanted fugitive
'Carlos the Jackal' was the world's most-wanted criminal in the 1970's and early 1980's, when he masterminded high-profile attacks including urban and train bombings.
The press nicknamed the Venezuelan-born Carlos "the jackal" after he escaped capture by international security services. The name was taken from a fictional terrorist in Frederick Forsyth's 1971 novel "The Day of the Jackal," which was later made into a widely-watched film.
The high-dressing Carlos, who referred to himself as an "officer of the Palestinian resistance," was a military chief of the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and boasted about his deadly operations.
"No one in the Palestinian resistance has executed more people than I have," he said at the Paris trial's opening.
One of his most well-known militant operations was a deadly hostage-taking at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna in 1975, in which three people were killed.
cmb/jm (dpa, AFP)