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Last Updated: Monday, 23 August, 2004, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Germany acquits 'Jackal's aide'
Johannes Weinrich
Weinrich once headed Germany's most-wanted list
A German court has acquitted Johannes Weinrich, an alleged accomplice of jailed left-wing extremist Carlos the Jackal, over 1980s bombings in France.

The Berlin state court cited lack of evidence in acquitting Mr Weinrich, 56, who is serving a life sentence for a 1983 attack in Berlin.

Mr Weinrich is said to have once headed European operations for Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the man known as Carlos.

He had been charged with six counts of murder and 22 of attempted murder.

Carlos, a Venezuelan, is serving a life sentence in France for a series of bombings and hijackings in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.

Prosecutors failed to persuade him to testify by video link against Mr Weinrich - who also refused to testify.

German authorities had ruled it would be too risky to bring Carlos from the prison in France to testify in person.

Mr Weinrich, who once headed Germany's most-wanted list, was captured and extradited from Yemen in 1995.


Chief prosecutor Detlev Mehlis said Mr Weinrich was responsible for three bomb attacks in France which left six dead.

Announcing the verdict, Judge Ralph Ehestaedt told the defendant: "You are a terrorist - that much is obvious. You carried and hid weapons, and you transported explosives."

But, he added, the evidence was insufficient. "If there is simply no more there, we have to acquit," the AP news agency quoted him as saying.

While Carlos the Jackal was believed to have done the planning, Mr Weinrich was accused of doing the dirty work.

Mr Weinrich was charged in connection with a 1982 car bombing which killed a passer-by outside the Paris offices of the Arabic newspaper Watan al-Arabi and a 1983 bombing at the main train station in Marseille that killed five people.

He and Carlos closely identified with the Palestinian cause and were supported by the secret services of the former communist eastern bloc.

Mr Weinrich went on the run and found sanctuary in the former East Germany before being traced to Yemen.

He was jailed in 2000 for his part in the bombing of a French cultural centre in Berlin in 1983 which left one dead and 23 injured.

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