Carlos the Jackal back in court over 1980s bombs

Fri Nov 4, 2011 4:21pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

PARIS (Reuters) - Gray hair and a paunch have replaced the beret, leather jacket and dark glasses but Carlos the Jackal's defiance remains intact before he stands trial in France for a series of bombings in the 1980s.

The international revolutionary from Venezuela, born Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, built a career as one of the world's best known guerrillas after a hostage-taking of OPEC oil ministers in the name of the Palestinian struggle in 1975.

Since his capture and sentencing nearly two decades ago, the Jackal has been resident of a French prison.

On Monday, Ramirez, already condemned to life in jail, will face a three-judge terrorism panel to answer charges he was behind four urban bombings in France that killed 11 people and wounded nearly 200 in the early 1980s.

"I am really in a combative mood," Ramirez, 62, told Europe 1 radio last month. "I'm not fearful by nature...My character is suited to this kind of combat."

The Marxist with a Che Guevara beret became the face of 1970s and 80s anti-imperialism, his taste for women and alcohol adding to his revolutionary mystique.

"He was the symbol of international leftist terrorism," said Francois-Bernard Huyghe, a terrorism expert at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations, IRIS, in Paris. "One day it could be in the service of the Palestinian cause, the next day he could put bombs in French trains. He was a kind of star."

Ramirez's got his nickname after a reporter saw a copy of Frederick Forsyth's "The Day of the Jackal" at his flat and mistakenly assumed it to be his.   Continued...

<p>Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as "Carlos the Jackal", raises his fist as he appears in court in Paris, November 28, 2000. REUTERS/File</p>