47 years later, Carlos in front of the assizes, for the last time

From “forced vacation»: This is how Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, says Carlos, described his years behind bars on Wednesday September 22 at the opening of his new trial, the last in France, for the deadly drugstore Publicis attack in 1974, which earned him two life sentences.

Ordered in November 2019 by the Court of Cassation, this new trial before the Special Assize Court of Paris concerns only the quantum of the sentence, the guilt of the Venezuelan in the attack which left two dead and 34 injured in 1974 having been definitively judged. The Court of Cassation ruled that Carlos had been convicted twice for the same thing because two incriminations overlapped.

The 71-year-old man already sentenced

Figure of terrorism “anti-imperialist»From the 1970s to the 80s, Carlos was sentenced in March 2017 to life imprisonment for this attack, a sentence confirmed on appeal a year later.

Hair and white mustache, elegant dark jacket, the “revolutionary professional»Self-proclaimed, now 71 years old, displays a broad smile while taking his place in the glass box, a black bag in hand, saluting by raising his fist his few supports in the room.

The smile fades slightly when, invited to disclose his identity, he complains of having had to undergo the search of his jacket on his arrival at the courthouse, assuring that in 27 years of imprisonment in France – “forced vacation“He will say,”never anything illegalWas found on him.

Arms crossed, surgical mask under his chin, he then listens absent-mindedly to the summary of the file made by the president of the court. Then, he nods when his lawyer Isabelle Coutant Peyre – who had become his partner in detention – attacks a “ancestral procedure», «of forensic archeology», While requesting, in vain, a more in-depth re-examination of the facts.

“See you next time !”

The Drugstore attack took place on September 15, 1974 in Paris, around 5:10 p.m.: a grenade thrown by a man from the mezzanine restaurant had exploded in the shopping arcade below, at the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rennes street. For the prosecution, this attack aimed to speed up the release of a Japanese arrested in Orly, a member of the Japanese Red Army (ARJ), close to a branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) whose Carlos was one of the armed forces in Europe.

Forty-seven years after this crime that he disputes, this trial is a new dive – but of shorter duration – in the youth of Carlos, from his native Venezuela to his engagement in camps in Jordan and then in Europe, in the service of the PFLP.

For those who always declare themselves in the service of the Palestinian cause and claim to have “killed 83 people, at least», This is a last lap. To the expert psychiatrist who came to testify as a witness, he nevertheless launched: “See you next time !».

Picky, he takes up the retired Hungarian journalist Laszlo Liszkai, one of his biographers who still visits him in prison, also cited as a witness, on certain elements of his career. From time to time, he leans his head in the opening of the glass box to be better heard and understood.

He wants to “return to Venezuela”

In a detention report read by the president, the central house of Poissy (Yvelines), where he has been imprisoned for 13 years, describes a prisoner as “l’attitude condescendante, râleuse“, a “egocentric personality“Including the”capital of sympathy diminishes over the years», Especially with a younger detained population.

Carlos answered. «I avoid fights, I am friendly with the supervisors, most like me very much. I am an old manHe said, introducing himself as “political prisoner“. Asked about his “perspectives“, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez evokes his desire to”return to Venezuela“, Where it is certain to be”(enforce) respect».

The “Jackal»Serving two life sentences in France, for a triple murder in 1975 in Paris and for four bombings committed in France in 1982 and 1983 (11 dead and 191 wounded).

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