French prison probe into Carlos the JackalTV interview to launch book
PARIS, March 10 (AFP) - Convicted Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal has stirred controversy in France after giving a television interview from his prison cell in which he refused to express remorse for the people he helped to kill.
Justice Minister Dominique Perben said Wednesday he had ordered an investigation into the interview, conducted by telephone and broadcast Sunday on the commercial network M6.
A French association representing some of families of the victims, SOS-Attentats, said Carlos – real name Ilich Ramirez Sanchez – was simply seeking publicity for a book written by his lawyer-turned-wife Isabelle Coutant-Peyre which went on sale this week.
In the interview, 54-year-old Carlos, who is serving a life sentence for a triple murder carried out in Paris in 1975, stated “there are no innocent victims” and refused to ask for forgiveness for his crimes.
“I’ve calculated that during our operations we killed more than 1,500 people, but less than 2,000. I’ve already been asked this question, but not even 10 percent of these people were innocent,” the former Marxist-Leninist radical mastermind said.
Perben, speaking on the radio station Europe 1, said: “I was especially shocked at what I heard Sunday night, thinking there must have been an organisational error in the establishment (the prison), but first of all thinking about the victims. This is intolerable.”
He added that, while convicts were allowed to make a 10-minute telephone call per month from cabins in the Saint-Maur prison in central France where Carlos is held, guards were able to listen in on the conversation and were to note the number.
Perben said he would “make some decisions” later Wednesday after speaking with the director of the prison.
The head of SOS-Attentats, Francoise Rudetzki, said Carlos was “a professional killer in need of publicity – he did this publicity stunt to help with the launch of a book.”
She said the television network had obtained a scoop, but that penitentiary authorities had to answer for the incident.
“How can it be possible to make phone calls when you’re convicted? Are all sorts of conversations allowed?” she asked.
In her book, “Marrying Carlos: high-tension love”, Coutant-Peyre recounts how she started representing Carlos, succumbed to his reputed charm, and continues to play the dual role of lawyer and wife to one of France’s most heavily guarded prisoners.
Subject: France news