Carlos the Jackal Sentenced To Life In Prison

By Dialogo
December 19, 2011


On December 16th, a French court sentenced the notorious Venezuelan militant known as Carlos the Jackal to life in prison, with a minimum of 18 years before parole, for four deadly attacks in France in the 1980s.

He was handed the maximum sentence that had been requested by French prosecutors who had urged the court to find Carlos Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, 62, guilty of the bombings that killed 11 people and left nearly 150 injured.

His lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, described the verdict as a “scandal” and said he would appeal.

Carlos first rose to prominence in 1975 when his commando group burst into the conference room where ministers from the powerful OPEC oil cartel were meeting in Vienna, and took 11 hostages.

His Paris trial dealt with four attacks that were seen as part of a private war Carlos waged against France to free two comrades, including his future wife, who were arrested in Paris while planning to attack the Kuwaiti embassy.

French authorities received a letter, allegedly marked with Carlos’s fingerprints, threatening “war” if the pair was not released within 30 days.

French prosecutor Olivier Bray had argued that the bombings in France in 1982 and 1983 were not “targeted” political actions, but “blind” attacks aimed to “kill the maximum number of people with the minimum risk.”

He said 30 years was “too long” for Carlos’s victims to have waited for his conviction, but that “the duty of democracies is to never give up … arresting those behind attacks and bringing them to justice.”



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