Convicted terrorist Carlos the Jackal back in French court for defending terrorism

The convicted terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal was back in court Tuesday for reportedly saying in a 2004 interview aired on French television that victims of terrorism are never innocent especially "the Great Satan."

The 56-year-old Venezuelan, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, is charged with defending terrorism, which is against the law in France.

Prosecutor Laurent Zuchowicz asked that the court fine Ramirez Ђ20,000 (US$23,800) for his stance in favor of terrorism in the March 2004 interview carried on the M6 TV station. The decision was deferred to a later date.

Technical difficulties prevented the court from hearing the litigious portion of the interview, conducted by phone with Ramirez from his prison. The difficulties drew broad smiles from the dapperly dressed Venezuelan.

"This is a set up," said Ramirez. He is serving a life sentence for the 1975 murders of two French secret agents and an alleged informer.

The French Justice Ministry had pressed the complaint against Ramirez for a portion of the interview in which Ramirez said there were no innocent victims of terrorism. He expressed pleasure that "the Great Satan" was hit in the al-Qaida attacks, allegedly suggesting the Sept. 11 attacks were deserved.

The prosecutor noted that Ramirez had already expressed "very great relief, great satisfaction" after the attacks.

"Carlos was a central figure in terrorism in Europe. Today he is not much. His only way to continue existing is to cling to a terrorist movement with which he has no link," the prosecutor said.

Ramirez gained international notoriety as the Cold War-era mastermind of deadly bombings, assassinations and hostage dramas. He is also suspected in the 1976 Palestinian hijacking of a French jetliner in flight to Entebbe, Uganda.

Ramirez was captured in Khartoum, Sudan, in 1994, and hauled in a sack to Paris by French secret service agents. He remains under investigation in a series of attacks in France.

The Venezuelan has gone to the European Court of Human Rights with his own case, saying the eight years he was held in solitary confinement in a French prison violated a European human rights treaty, reports AP.


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