Carlos the Jackal not a revolutionary but a killer, former comrade tells Paris court


A former comrade of Carlos the Jackal described him as a cold-blooded killer and cast doubt on his sanity at his trial in Paris on Friday. From the dock, Carlos – real name Ilich Ramirez Sanchez – warned Hans-Joachim Klein, “We execute traitors, snitches and police informers.”


“He calls himself a professional revolutionary,” Klein told the court during his testimony. “Transforming a woman into mincemeat isn’t revolutionary.”

Venezuelan-born Carlos, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing two French secret service agents and an alleged informer, faces trial for four bombings in Paris and elsewhere in France that killed 11 people and injured 200 in 1982 and 1983.

Carlos The Jackal's Parisian trail of destruction

Klein, who at one time shared a flat with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, now an MEP, and Joschka Fischer, who went on to be German Foreign Affairs Minister, was a member of the group that took Opec oil ministers hostage in Vienna in 1975 under Carlos’s leadership.

He renounced political violence in 1976 and went into hiding in France before being caught in 1998 and serving five years in jail for the Opec hostage-taking.

On Friday he accused Carlos of lying to his followers when he told them it was to help the Palestinian cause.

“It was a contract for [late Libyan leader Moamer] Kadhafi, who wanted to control Opec,” Klein said.

Carlos acquired a taste for murder, according to Klein.

Spate of high-profile trials in France

“He had a policy of gratuitous massacre,” he testified. “He thought that the more he killed, the more people respected him. He was quite capable of killing someone and going to a good restaurant without losing his appetite.”

Carlos praised Hitler, Klein said, adding, “You have to ask yourself about his mental health.”

The accused responded by threatening the witness but also declared that he had “never contested” the charges against him.

No foreign spies will be heard at Carlos’s trial, although the court summoned nine ex-agents from east European countries to appear. The court wanted to hear about their surveillance of Carlos’s group while he lived in the former East Germany, Hungary and Romania in the early 1980s when they were part of the eastern bloc.

But several said that their health is now too fragile for them to be able to come to France. Four agreed to be interviewed by satellite link but the defence objected to the procedure, leading the court to drop them from the list of witnesses.

Also not appearing is high-profile lawyer, Jacques Vergès, who acted for Carlos at the time of the attacks for which he is standing trial.

The court wants to establish if the Socialist government of the time tried to negotiate a truce in exchange for going easy on Carlos’s comrades, Magdalena Kopp and Bruno Breguet, who had been arrested in possession of several kilos of explosives.

Two ministerial advisers told the court that they had met Vergès and that he had told them that freeing the two would be “in France’s interests”.

Strangely, Vergès, who is currently defending former Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia, was not called to appear, with defence and prosecution saying that it was the other side’s responsibility to summon him.

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