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Carlos the Jackal given third life sentence for Paris bombing

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A courtroom sketch of Carlos on Monday 28 March Benoit Peyruq/AFP

Self-styled "professional revolutionary" Carlos the Jackal has been sentenced to a third life sentence by a French court after being judged responsible for the 1974 Paris Drugstore attack, which killed two people and injured 34.


Venezuelan national Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, nicknamed Carlos the Jackal by the media after Frederick Forsyth's 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal, was given the stiffest possible sentence by the Paris court on Tuesday after being found guilty of masterminding the grenade attack on the shop and restaurant in the upmarket Left Bank district of Saint-Germain in September 1974.

He said he would appeal against the sentence.

Prosecutor Rémi Crosson du Cormier on Monday admitted that there was no DNA, fingerprints or CCTV footage but argued that "all the evidence gathered in this investigation points to Carlos".

"I am convinced that Ilich Ramirez Sanchez is the author of this terrible crime," he told the court.

A key argument of the prosecution was that the grenade used was of the same type as a batch found in the flat of Carlos's mistress and in the possession of an armed group close to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to which Carlos belonged.

'Nobody can prove it'

Carlos, 67, on Tuesday mocked the "absurdity of a trial 43 years after the events" and pleaded for acquittal, his defence pointing to failures in the witnesses' memories, changes in experts called by the prosecution and the deaths of some of those who were injured in the meantime.

Earlier he had let slip "Perhaps it is me but nobody can prove it" and bragged that "No one in the Palestinian resistance has executed more people than I have."

Although he pleaded not guilty and addressed the court, he declared that he refused to cooperate with a legal system he did not recognise.

Two other life sentences

Born into a left-wing Venezuelan family, Sanchez joined the PFLP and forged alliances with European armed groups like Germany's Red Army Faction.

He has already been given two life sentences, one for the murder of two police officers and a former comrade he believed had betrayed him in Paris in 1975, the other for four bombings in Paris, Marseille and on railway trains that killed 11 people and injured 150 in 1982 and 1983.

To read Carlos the Jackal's Parisian trail of destruction click here

He became internationally notorious after a commando from his group burst into a meeting of the Opec oil cartel in Vienna, taking 11 people hostage, killing three.

He says his organisation killed 1,500 people and that he was personally responsible for 80 but repeatedly denied responsibility for the Paris attacks.

French secret services arrested him in Sudan in 1994.