Carlos the Jackal wins case against France

27th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

STRASBOURG, Jan 27 (AFP) - The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ruled that France had failed to give the killer known as "Carlos the Jackal" proper legal recourse against his solitary confinement of more than eight years, but rejected his claim of suffering cruel and inhumane treatment.

STRASBOURG, Jan 27 (AFP) - The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ruled that France had failed to give the killer known as "Carlos the Jackal" proper legal recourse against his solitary confinement of more than eight years, but rejected his claim of suffering cruel and inhumane treatment.

The court ordered the French authorities to pay Carlos EUR 5,000 (USD 6,500) for his legal costs, agreeing that he had not been allowed to contest his solitary confinement, violating a clause in the European Convention on Human Rights, to which France adheres.

But it rejected his argument that he had been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, and acknowledged France's problems in dealing with one of the world's most notorious killers.

The Venezuelan-born Carlos, whose real name is Illich Ramirez Sanchez, said that his solitary confinement and the dilapidated condition of his small cell constituted cruel and unusual punishment, a plea the court rejected.

It said it "appreciated the extraordinary security measures needed to hold a prisoner who at the time was considered the most dangerous terrorist in the world." Although he was placed in an isolation cell, and complained that his only recreation was provided by a rented television and newspapers, the court said he was not deprived of sensory or social contacts.

The former Marxist-Leninist radical mastermind, who once boasted that his plots had killed more than 1,500 people over two decades, was captured by French intelligence services in Sudan in 1994 after a series of operations in the 1970s and 1980s that outraged the world, including the spectacular December 1975 kidnapping of oil ministers during an OPEC meeting in Vienna.

The court noted that Carlos, 55, received regular visits from his lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, whom he married in a Muslim ceremony in 2001, and from 57 other lawyers, as well as being allowed to see a cleric once a month.

The court noted that France had justified holding Carlos in solitary confinement because of "his dangerousness, the need to maintain order and safety in the prison and the likelihood and he might seek to escape."

Carlos is serving a life term in a prison in the Parisian suburb of Fresnes for a triple murder in Paris in 1975.

Late last year, he went on a hunger strike in protest at being kept in solitary confinement, according to his wife. Authorities then said Carlos was subject to disciplinary restrictions for refusing to pass through a metal detector.

Carlos is claimed to have served as an inspiration for Frederick Forsyth's best-selling novel "The Day of the Jackal", which hit the big screen in 1973.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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