France: Court OKs third life sentence for Carlos the Jackal

PARIS (AP) — The life sentence given to the former political extremist known as Carlos the Jackal for a 1974 hand grenade attack that killed two people in Paris was upheld by a French court Thursday.

Venezuelan-born Ilich Ramirez Sanchez already is serving two other life sentences in France for murders and attacks he was convicted of perpetrating or organizing during the 1970s and 1980s.

Once the world’s most-wanted fugitive, Ramirez Sanchez spent more than two decades engaged in militant activities to promote the Palestinian cause and communist revolution. Intelligence agents captured him in Sudan in 1994 and smuggled him to France in a sack.

Defense lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre rued what she called a “political decision” by the court. She says Ramirez Sanchez is likely to appeal to France’s highest court.

Carlos, now 68, has long denied involvement in the explosion at the Drugstore Publicis shopping center. Along with the two deaths, the grenade injured 34 people.

The case initially was dismissed for lack of evidence, but reopened after Ramirez Sanchez’s 1994 arrest. Defense challenges kept it from going to trial until March 2017, when a lower court found him guilty of murder.

In one of his most dramatic operations as a militant, Carlos he led an attack on a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna, Austria, in December 1975. More than 60 people, including 11 OPEC ministers, were taken hostage and three people were killed.

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