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Friday, December 12, 1997 Published at 16:56 GMT


Jackal goes on trial
image: [ Heavy security as the Jackal is brought to trial ]
Heavy security as the Jackal is brought to trial

Carlos the Jackal, once the world's most wanted international criminal, has appeared under heavy security in a court in Paris.

Smiling in court, he identified himself as a "professional revolutionary."

"My name is Illich. My family name is Ramirez Sanchez. I was born on October 12, 1949 in Caracas. My profession is professional revolutionary," he told the court.

[ image: Carlos had been living under an alias in Sudan]
Carlos had been living under an alias in Sudan
Speaking French with a thick Spanish accent, Carlos lashed out against his arrest and attacking pro-Israeli "Zionists" in the courtroom.

"I was kidnapped," he said. "Legally I am not in France. I refuse to recognise the right of the French judiciary to judge me despite the respect I have for France."

He is charged with killing two French intelligence officers and a Lebanese informer in 1975. He faces 30 years imprisonment if convicted.

During the hearing, Carlos smiled so broadly at prospective jurors as they filed in that the presiding judge called him to order, reminding him he was in a court of law.

Carlos then took over jury selection from his lawyer, rejecting a French man and a young woman with an Arab-sounding name.

The final jury was made up of six women and three men, with seven alternate jurors.

Carlos has been in jail in France since French agents captured him in Sudan in 1994, where he was living under an alias.

The name of Carlos the Jackal has been linked to some of the most spectacular guerrilla operations of the 1970s and 1980s.

He established his reputation in 1975 with the seizure of 70 hostages at a meeting in Vienna of oil ministers from Opec.

The trial is expected to last a week. In 1992, a French court sentenced Carlos in absentia to life imprisonment. But under French law, he is entitled to a fresh trial in person.


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