ReutersPARIS (Reuters) — Carlos the Jackal, once one of the world’s most wanted criminals, described himself as a “professional revolutionary” on Monday when he went on trial in France over a grenade attack on a Paris shop more than 40 years ago that killed two people.
The Venezuelan, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, has been held in France for 23 years since being captured in Khartoum by French special forces and was previously sentenced to life in jail for deadly attacks in the 1970s and 1980s.
In his latest trial, which began in a Paris court on Monday, he faces charges including murder over the Sept. 15, 1974 grenade attack on the Publicis drugstore in central Paris, which also injured 34. Ramirez denies involvement.
Ramirez, 67, who now has receding white hair, refused to give his name in court and gave his age as 17 “give or take 50 years.”
“I have been a professional revolutionary since I was a teenager,” he said.
In long monologues to the court, Ramirez mixed references to the Israeli and French secret services with complaints of “coarse manipulations of justice” before being advised by the judge to give shorter answers.
Ramirez, who wore a dark jacket and metal-framed glasses, was confined in a glass box, with just an opening to speak through. Three police officers flanked him in the box.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Marxist militant and self-dubbed “elite gunman” became a symbol of Cold War anti-imperialism and public enemy No. 1 for Western governments.
He sealed his notoriety in 1975 with the hostage-taking of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna in the name of the Palestinian struggle, and went on to become an international gun-for-hire with Soviet bloc protectors.