'Carlos' Admits Terrorist Attacks
Dec. 16, 1997
PARIS (AP) _ In angry exchanges on the third day of his murder trial, the man known as ``Carlos the Jackal'' admitted Tuesday in court that he was involved in terrorist attacks.
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, once one of the world's most-wanted terrorists, also challenged the prosecution's attempt to portray him as a man taunted as a youth for being fat and desperate for attention.
The 48-year-old graying militant was evasive about his alleged links to the Soviet KGB, but admitted he was part of a special committee for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine during the 1970s.
``We were making war against the Zionists. It was a military mission,'' Ramirez said angrily, when pressed by Judge Yves Corneloup. ``We are forced to fight abroad. The war was international and it continues.''
The judge asked: ``Does that mean taking hostages and executions, things like that?''
``Yes, and hijacking planes,'' Ramirez said.
Ramirez is on trial for the 1975 slayings in Paris of two police investigators and a Lebanese member of the PFLP.
The French intelligence agents, Raymond Dous and Jean Donatini, were investigating Ramirez's role in attacks on Israel's El Al airlines at Paris' Orly Airport. Ramirez suspected Michel Moukharbal, the PFLP member, of being an informer.
Ramirez carried out the 1975 seizure of OPEC oil ministers and was involved in the 1976 Palestinian hijacking of a French jetliner to Entebbe, Uganda, which ended with an Israeli commando raid.
The avowed ``international revolutionary'' said police investigator Daniel Aberard's description of his life ``leads people by the nose; it manipulates them.''
He called it ``a little cop's work.''
Aberard said Ramirez' father, a wealthy Marxist lawyer, gave his three sons the names of the Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, and that Ramirez ``lived a youth bathed in a guerrilla image.''
He said Ramirez ``suffered from his physique'' and sought to get even. Fellow students called him ``El Gordo,'' or ``The Fat One,'' Aberard said.
``I'm fat,'' Ramirez admitted to the judge and jury of nine. ``But it's not destructive. It's not a complex.''
According to Aberard's description, the Venezuelan-born Ramirez went to a college prep school in London in the mid-60s, studied at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, then joined and trained with PFLP guerrillas, beginning his terrorist activity.
Ramirez, known as a charmer, ``had a very utilitarian concept of women,'' Aberard said; it was to ``befriend those creatures because they could serve him'' in his terrorist exploits, including stocking weapons.
The defendant, dressed in blue jeans, a white polo shirt, a dark blue ascot and blazer, smiled occasionally but then went on the offensive.
He attacked a 1979 interview of him published in the Arabic newspaper Al Watan, which quoted him as describing the killing of the two police officers and the Lebanese national.
``It wasn't an interview,'' he said. The author of the article ``wasn't a journalist. He was a poet,'' he said to laughter.
Ramirez, who faces a 30-year prison sentence in each of the killings, was convicted in 1992 in absentia. He was captured Aug. 14, 1994, in Khartoum, Sudan and under French law, he must be retried now that he is in custody.
It remained to be seen whether Ramirez could win over the jury with his rambling answers mixed with humor and sloganeering. Several jurors wearily leaned their heads on their hands as they listened.
``I was a good example for the revolution, which will go on without me,'' he said. ``I will join my comrades in paradise.''
A former mistress, Nydia Tobon, was expected to testify when the trial resumes Wednesday.
French authorities are investigating Ramirez' role in at least three other attacks in France, for which he could eventually be tried on terrorism charges.