Carlos the Jackal says still 'fighting' from French jail

18th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal insisted Tuesday he still has his fighting spirit but bemoaned no longer having contact with ex-Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, a fellow inmate at his Paris jail.

"I still have the fighting spirit to criticise the illegality of my presence here in France," the Marxist-Leninist radical, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, told Europe 1 radio in a telephone interview.

"It's a miracle that I'm alive, I've survived so many operations," said Carlos, who is to go on trial next month over 1980s bomb attacks carried out in France.

Carlos, jailed for life in 1997 for the 1975 killing of two French policemen and a police informer, said he had one regret: "I sacrificed my family life, I couldn't raise my children... I was an absent husband most of the time."

He said he had enjoyed spending time with fallen Panamanian dictator Noriega, jailed in France for money-laundering, but that the two were now kept apart.

"We know some of the same people. We talk about the past... and the present," he said, deploring the fact that he has not been able to speak to Noriega for a week despite their requests to be kept in "the same group."

Carlos said he hoped to be freed one day, "by the grace of God and dodgy deals between France and Venezuela," after which he would "have the honeymoon that's years overdue" and visit the Colombian grave of Latin American independence icon Simon Bolivar.

The militant married his French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre in a Muslim ceremony while in jail.

Born in 1949, Carlos rose to prominence in 1975 when his commando group burst into the conference room where ministers from the powerful OPEC oil cartel were meeting in Vienna. He took 11 hostages.

Carlos will on November 7 be tried for "complicity in killings and destruction of property using explosive substances" for bombings in France in 1982 and 1983 that killed 11 and injured more than 100 people.

After two decades on the run, Carlos was finally captured in Khartoum in 1994 by French secret service agents acting with the help of the Sudanese government.

© 2011 AFP

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