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File picture of 'Carlos the Jackal'
Carlos gained notoriety for a 1975 OPEC attack in ViennaImage: AP

Behind bars

December 16, 2011

A French court has sentenced the infamous terrorist "Carlos the Jackal" to life in prison for several attacks in France in the early 1980s. Two of his accopmlices have been sentenced in absentia.


Venezulean terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better knows as Carlos the Jackal, has been sentenced to life in prison. He was found guilty of bombing campaigns in France in 1982 and 1983.

A special criminal court in Paris handed Sanchez the maximum sentence with a minumum of 18 years before parole for four deadly attacks that killed 11 people and injured over 100.

Sanchez has denied the charges. His lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre described the verdict as "a scandal" and vowed to launch an appeal.

The 62-year-old is already serving a life sentence for murdering three French citizens in 1975.

In a five-hour address at the end of the trial, Carlos accused the court of "propaganda against Carlos and the Palestinian cause."

Lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre
Lawyer Coutant-Peyre said Carlos would appeal the verdictImage: dapd

He ended his speech with a clenched fist, shouting "Long live the revolution" to some 15 supporters in the public gallery.

Accomplices tried in absentia

The court also sentenced two co-accused who where tried in absentia. German Johannes Weinrich and Palestinian Ali Kamal al-Issawi both also received a life sentence.

Weinrich, Carlos' former right-hand man, is already serving a prison sentence in Germany; al-Issawi is still at large.

Carlos the Jackal earned most of his notoriety for masterminding the 1975 assault on an OPEC meeting in Vienna, where he and five others took about 70 people hostage, including 11 oil ministers. Three people, including an Austrian policeman, were killed during the attack.

The group demanded to be flown to Algeria where most of the hostages were released. The guerillas gave themselves up to the authorities there and were set free a few days later.

Ramirez was finally arrested in Sudan in 1994 and transferred to France, where he has been held ever since.

Author: Andreas Illmer (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Gabriel Borrud

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