December 11, 2013
France hands Carlos the Jackal another life prison term
The Venezuelan defendant, 62, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, has been locked up in France for almost 20 years serving a life sentence in a separate case for killing two police officers and an informant in Paris in 1975.
Sentencing Ramirez to an additional life term, the special terrorism court in Paris made up of seven magistrates said he should serve a minimum of 18 years in jail.
The verdict could push back the date on which he can apply for conditional release, currently set for 2012.
Defense lawyers called the decision a scandal and said their client would file an appeal.
Ramirez was accused of masterminding four separate attacks in France on two trains, a train station and a Paris street that killed 11 people and wounded nearly 200.
Prosecutors said the bombings were his answer to the police seizure of two of his gang, including his lover, and had argued that he remained a danger to the public.
Earlier yesterday, Ramirez - once one of the most wanted international criminals - addressed the court in a five-hour monologue, alternately rambling, vitriolic and poignant, calling himself a "living martyr" in defending his innocence.
Ramirez, a self-dubbed "elite gunman," appeared resigned to a guilty verdict. Death in prison, he said at one point, "is the role of a revolutionary."
"I am in prison ... condemned in a pre-decided case," he told the court, his voice rising in volume.
During the six-week trial, Ramirez denied any specific involvement in the four bombings in 1982 and 1983 on a Paris street, two trains and a Marseille train station that wounded nearly 200 people and left 11 dead. Prosecutors say the bombings were Ramirez's answer to the police seizure of two of his gang, including his lover.
"There is nothing ... to connect me with these four attacks," he told the court, making a zero sign with his thumb and index finger.
Prosecutors had argued Ramirez remains a public danger and demanded he be sentenced to an additional life term and serve a minimum of 18 years.