Trial of Carlos the Jackal over 1982-83 bombings opens

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Notorious Venezuelan militant cell leader Carlos the Jackal went on trial on Monday in Paris accused of carrying out four deadly bombings in France that killed 11 people and wounded almost 150.

"I'm a professional revolutionary," he told judge Olivier Leurent, who began his questioning in front of a Paris anti-terrorism tribunal.

The 62-year-old, who admitted Sunday in a press interview leading a global campaign of attacks that left between 1,500 and 2,000 people dead, has denied the latest set of charges relating to the 1982 and 1983 bombings.

Carlos Ilich Ramirez Sanchez looked relaxed as the trial got underway, appearing in jeans and a blue jacket, as dozens of journalists and a motley collection of well-wishers struggled to find space in the packed courtroom.

French stand-up comic Dieudonne Mbala Mbala, a political activist close to far-right circles who has been convicted of anti-Semitic slurs, demanded that "Commander Carlos" be allowed to return home to Venezuela.

The accused was arrested in Sudan in 1994 and transferred to France, where he has since been held in various jails. In 1997 he was convicted of the 1975 murder of a civilian and two policemen, and jailed for life.

A verdict in the latest trial is due on December 16.

© 2011 AFP

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