Carlos the Jackal ends hunger strike in France

28th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Venezuelan militant Carlos the Jackal has ended an 11-day hunger strike at a Parisian jail where he is serving a life sentence for murder, his lawyer said Friday.

The Marxist-Leninist radical, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, began the protest on October 18, a week after being placed in an isolation cell.

His attorney Francis Vuillemin said prison authorities had removed Carlos from solitary confinement on Thursday and allowed him to return to quarters reserved for public figures at La Sante prison.

"The isolation has stopped. That's critical but we are demanding an administrative decision the end the isolation measures for the past 10 days," Vuillemin said.

Carlos, 62, is awaiting a new trial due to begin November 7 for attacks that left 11 people dead in France in 1982 and 1983.

In 1997 Carlos was sentenced to life behind bars for the 1975 shooting deaths of two French policemen and a police informer.

Authorities returned to Carlos his belongings, including documents and a computer, in order to prepare for his defense for the upcoming trial, his brother Vladimir Ramirez said.

But Ramirez complained that Carlos, who is diabetic, would now have "just a few days" to work on his case, and that his brother's state of health had "weakened" from the hunger strike.

Ramirez is a 53-year-old civil engineer who has organized a campaign supporting his brother since French secret service agents nabbed him in 1994 in Sudan after two decades on the run.

The "main culprit" behind his brother's situation, according to Ramirez, is the Venezuelan government and its "complete inaction."

He said occasional statements of support from firebrand leftist President Hugo Chavez and Foreign Minister Nicolas Madura have been too vague.

"The government's silence is a blemish on the face of the revolutionary process we are living in this country," said Ramirez, like his brother a former member of the leftist Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Ramirez said he has asked Maduro and the country's ombudsman, up to now in vain, to "fulfill their constitutional obligation to assist any Venezuelan abroad."

Venezuelan government officials declined to comment on the case.

Ramirez said he stays in constant contact with his brother, who "remains in very good spirits" despite his physical weakness.

"He does not renounce his fight. The Palestinian cause remains relevant. He has reinforced his convictions," Ramirez said.

Ramirez also accused French authorities of having "done everything in their power to prevent a proper trial."

© 2011 AFP

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