Carlos le Chacal calls for shorter prison sentence in French trial

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Paris (AFP)

Carlos le Chacal, who was behind some of the biggest terrorist attacks of the 1970s and 1980s, will try to have one of his three life sentences overturned in a trial that begins Wednesday in Paris.

The 71-year-old Venezuelan activist, real name Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, has been behind bars in France since his arrest in Sudan in 1994 after two decades on the run.

“I am a professional revolutionary; the revolution is my job, ”said in 2018 the left winger who fought alongside radicalized Palestinians, the German Red Army faction and the Japanese Red Army before a French appeals court.

A year earlier, a lower court sentenced him to a third life sentence for a grenade attack on a store in the French capital in 1974, which left two dead and 34 injured.

In 2019, France’s highest court of appeal upheld his murder conviction but ordered a new trial to reconsider his sentence, saying he should not have been convicted of both wearing and using of a grenade because that amounted to being convicted twice for the same offense.

The trial is expected to last three days.

Carlos has always denied any responsibility for the Publicis Drugstore attack in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the heart of the Parisian left bank.

No DNA or fingerprint evidence was found after the bombing, but a former comrade in arms linked Carlos to the attack, which investigators said was aimed at putting pressure on France to she frees an imprisoned Japanese activist.

Carlos is also serving life sentences for the 1975 murders of two French policemen and a police informant as well as for a series of bombings in Paris and Marseille in 1982 and 1983, which resulted in 11 dead and dozens injured.

He became one of the world’s most wanted men after leading a brazen attack on an OPEC oil cartel meeting in Vienna in 1975.

Carlos and five other gunmen took 11 oil ministers hostage and dozens more.

Three people were killed before the Austrian authorities agreed to provide Carlos with a plane to transport him and his team to Algiers with around 40 hostages who were then released in exchange for a heavy ransom.