Ilich Ramírez Sánchez

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Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (born October 12, 1949 in Michelena , Táchira ) known as Carlos the Jackal , is a Venezuelan terrorist who is responsible for numerous international attacks from 1973 onwards. He has been imprisoned in France since 1994 , where he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1997, 2011 and 2017.



Ramírez Sánchez's father was a Marxist and lawyer . He named his three sons Vladimir, Ilich and Lenin, after Vladimir Ilyich Lenin . Ramírez attended a school in the Venezuelan capital Caracas and in 1959 joined the youth organization of the Communist Party of Venezuela . In 1966, after his parents divorced, he moved to London with his mother and brother , where he attended Stafford House Tutorial College in Kensington . From 1968 Ramírez and his brother studied at the request of their father at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow , where Ramírez came into contact with Palestinian and other international left-wing revolutionary groups. Due to political differences with his Soviet hosts, his scholarship was revoked in 1970 and he had to leave Moscow. In addition to his native Spanish , he also spoke some English and French in addition to Arabic and Russian .

Apparently he then attended a training camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ( PFLP ) in Amman , Jordan , where he chose the battle name Carlos (after Carlos Andrés Pérez , who nationalized Venezuela's oil industry). When he left Jordan, he went to London, where he attended university lectures.

terrorist attacks

In December 1973 Carlos committed his first terrorist attack for the PFLP, a failed assassination attempt on the British entrepreneur and prominent supporter of Israel Joseph Edward Sieff (1905–1982). Ramírez Sánchez also assumed responsibility for a failed bomb attack on the Israeli bank Hapoalim in London and a car bomb attack on three French newspapers that were accused of being pro-Israeli. He also claimed to have committed an attack on a Paris restaurant, in which two people died and 30 were injured. On September 15, 1974, he threw a hand grenade in the Publicis drugstore in a French shopping gallery, killing two people and injuring over 30. On January 13 and 17, 1975, he took part in two failed bazooka attacks on El-Al aircraft at Orly Airport in Paris .

On June 27, 1975, Ramírez Sánchez's PFLP contact Michel Moukharbal was arrested and successfully interrogated. When three police officers tried to arrest Ramírez in a Parisian house during a ceremony, he shot two of the police officers and Moukharbal, fled and managed to escape to Beirut via Brussels . It was later discovered that Michel Moukharbal had worked undercover for the Mossad .

From Beirut, Carlos participated in the planning of the attack on the OPEC headquarters in Vienna . On December 21, 1975, he led the team of six that carried out the attack on the meeting of OPEC leaders, murdered three people and took 60 hostages. The following day the terrorists were given a plane in which they took 42 hostages with them to Algiers , and released 30 of the kidnapped people there. Then the Douglas DC-9 flew to Tripoli , where more hostages were released, and returned to Algiers. The rest of the hostages were also released there; the terrorists were granted asylum . Ramírez Sánchez left Algeria shortly afterwards , went to Libya and then to South Yemen , where he attended a meeting of leading PFLP members in Aden . There he had to justify the fact that it has two of the hostages, the Saudi Arabian and Iranian non oil minister executed had. Allegedly he had also embezzled part of the ransom. He was then expelled from the organization by the leaders of the PFLP, George Habasch and Wadi Haddad .

In September 1976 Ramírez Sánchez was briefly arrested in Yugoslavia and then fled to Baghdad . There he decided to set up his own group, the Organization des Révolutionnaires Internationalistes (ORI), in Aden, which consisted of Syrian , Lebanese and German terrorists. Ramírez also made contact with the Ministry for State Security of the GDR , which led his group under the code name Separat . He also received orders from the Romanian secret service Securitate , for which he was supposed to attack pro-Soviet politicians together with the CIA , since Sanchez advocated a left-wing nationalist path between socialism and capitalism . Ramírez offered his services to various groups, including the PFLP, and may have received support from the Iraqi government.

The ORI did the first attack in 1982: a failed attack on the French Superphénix nuclear power plant under construction . When two members, including Carlos' wife Magdalena Kopp , were arrested in Paris, the group carried out several bomb attacks in retaliation: in August 1983 on the French cultural center Maison de France in Berlin and in December two attacks on the Marseille train station and a TGV . As a result, the pressure on states that tolerated Ramírez Sánchez increased: in 1985 he was expelled from Hungary after living in Budapest in the 2nd district for a few years . In addition to his friend Johannes Weinrich , there were a few Germans, including Dietmar C., who kept in touch with Gaddafi and George Habasch, some of Carlos' main donors. Iraq, Libya and Cuba also refused to support. Only in Damascus was he able to settle down with Kopp and her daughter Elba Rosa.

However, the Syrian government forced him to stop his activities. Since then, Ramírez Sánchez has not been seen as a major threat. In September 1991 he was also expelled from Syria and was temporarily housed in Jordan. Then he moved to Khartoum in Sudan .

In an interview on November 6, 2011, published in the online edition of the Venezuelan daily El Nacional , Carlos claims that there were between 1,500 and 2,000 victims in about 100 attacks he carried out.

Arrest and lawsuits

The French and US secret services made several offers for his extradition to the Sudanese authorities . The main reason for his eventual arrest was possibly Carlos' playboy-like life, which angered some Islamic fundamentalists . On August 14, 1994, he was handed over to French agents who transferred him to Paris. He was charged with his 1975 Paris murders and was awaiting trial in La Santé prison in Paris. This began on December 12, 1997. On December 23, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment .

Ramírez Sánchez was placed in an isolation cell in La Santé prison in Paris. In December 1998, he protested with a twenty-day hunger strike against solitary confinement , but broke the strike at the request of his parents and his companion George Habash from.

The German terrorist Johannes Weinrich was considered to be Ramírez Sánchez's right-hand man .

On October 18, 2011, Ramírez Sánchez went on a hunger strike again against his solitary confinement.

On November 6, 2011, another trial against Ramírez Sánchez began in Paris . He was charged with complicity in four attacks in 1982 and 1983, in which 11 people died and 150 were injured. Christa Fröhlich and Johannes Weinrich as well as the fugitive Ali al-Issawi were also accused. On December 15, 2011, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the second time. In an appeal process from May to June 2013, the life sentence imposed in 2011 was confirmed.

On March 13, 2017, the trial of the hand grenade attack on the “Drugstore Publicis” shopping center on September 15, 1974 began in Paris. On March 28, 2017, Ramírez Sánchez was sentenced again to life imprisonment.


Ramírez Sánchez converted to Islam while in custody . He entered into an exchange of letters with the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and published the book Revolutionary Islam in June 2003 , in which he tries to explain and defend terrorism as a means of the struggle for freedom . He also expressed his support for Osama bin Laden and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks .

Since 2005 he has been writing articles under his Muslim name, Salim Muhammed, for the illegal monthly magazine Aylık of the Turkish militant Islamist organization İBDA-C .

In an individual complaint, he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights against his detention conditions. The appeal was dismissed in the first and second instance. “In view of the prisoner's personality and extreme danger”, the measure could not be classified as inhumane treatment. The final decision came with 12 to 5 votes.

He was temporarily in the maximum security prison in the town of Ville-sous-la-Ferté near Troyes , which has 1,345 inhabitants and was built in the 1970s on the site of the former Clairvaux monastery after the poor prison conditions in the former monastery buildings became public.

In her book, Magdalena Kopp describes how, after a long period of imprisonment, he sent postcards with his photo that seemed silly to her. The only content of the texts were targets that, in his opinion, should be attacked in order to get him free again.

International support since imprisonment

The Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez campaigned for Ramirez to be released from 1999. In a speech to international guests in 2009, Chavez characterized him as “one of the great fighters of the Palestine Liberation Organization .” Chavez's successor in office Nicolás Maduro , who a. a. In 2011, when the foreign minister announced that he would continue to support the Venezuelan, it refused, to the publicly expressed displeasure of Ramírez, in 2013 to cover the costs of the defense in the appeal proceedings in Paris.

Ramírez Sánchez has been married to his lawyer, the French Isabelle Coutant-Peyre , religiously according to the Islamic rite , but not under civil law , since 2001 .

In August 2014, the Spanish-language service of the Russian foreign television broadcaster RT broadcast political messages of the imprisoned Ramírez as exclusive audio recordings, despite the prison authorities' ban on interviews. The broadcaster's collaboration with the convict was complemented by an extensive studio interview with his brother Vladimir Ramírez, who leads a public campaign for liberation and repatriation from Venezuela and defended him as an “ internationalist , anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist fighter”.


Especially in the English-speaking world, Ramírez Sánchez was often referred to as Carlos the Jackal (Carlos the Jackal). This by English tabloids introduced Nickname follows reports in the police raid on a neighborhood of terrorists in London was a copy of the detective novel The Day of the Jackal ( The Jackal ) by Frederick Forsyth been found.

"Carlos" in a novel and film

In Robert Ludlum's fictional thriller The Bourne Identity from 1980 - partly also in the sequels The Bourne Imperium (1986) and The Bourne Ultimatum (1990) - Carlos is very freely described as a terrorist who repeatedly eludes his pursuers, including the protagonist Bourne can and whose identity ultimately remains in the dark; Ludlums Carlos is on the one hand cold-blooded, but on the other hand supports - in compensation for their consideration - old, destitute men (or their relatives) financially after their death, whereby his extensive network of helpers is loyal to him. The 1988 TV adaptation of The Bourne Identity ( Agent Without a Name ) with Yorgo Voyagis as Carlos roughly follows the first novel, whereas the later adaptations of the trilogy (2002-2007, with Matt Damon as Bourne) have almost nothing in common with the novels and also completely dispense with the central figure of Carlos.

In the 1985 German film Drei gegen Drei by the band Trio , three South American generals are killed by a terrorist named Carlos.

In 1997, a largely fictional story called The Assignment was made into a film about the long-standing attempt to capture Carlos. Carlos is played by Aidan Quinn . Donald Sutherland and Ben Kingsley can be seen in other leading roles as CIA and Mossad agents.

In 2009, under the direction of Olivier Assayas, the life of Carlos (played by Venezuelan Édgar Ramírez ) was filmed as Carlos, le prix du chacal or in Germany under the title Carlos - The Jackal . The film sticks to historical facts only to a limited extent. It screened at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2010 , was released in a five-hour version and a three-hour version on November 5, 2010, and was awarded a Golden Globe in the category Best Mini-Series or TV Film in Beverly Hills in January 2011 . Both versions were released on DVD in May 2011. The long version was broadcast in 3 parts on arte on October 20 and 21, 2011 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. J. Edward Sieff Dead at 76 In: Jewish Telegraphic Agency of November 5, 1982, accessed on July 14, 2015 (English)
  2. Another life sentence for killer "Carlos" - WELT ONLINE ' , accessed on December 28, 2011
  3. Interview in 'El Nacional' ( Memento from February 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved on November 7, 2011
  6. Archive link ( Memento of the original dated July 6, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. ^ Protest against solitary confinement. In: the daily newspaper . October 25, 2011, accessed October 25, 2011 .
  8. Trial of former top terrorist Carlos begins. In: ORF . November 6, 2011, accessed November 7, 2011 .
  9. Notorious terrorist: "Carlos" has to go to prison for life. In: Spiegel Online . December 16, 2011, accessed June 9, 2018 .
  10. ^ "Carlos" sentenced to life imprisonment again after revision, in: Zeit Online from June 26, 2013, accessed on August 11, 2014
  11. New trial against the terrorist «Carlos»
  12. Again for a lifetime for terrorists "Carlos"
  13. The Conspiracy of Liars by David A. Yallop (author), Andrea Galler (translator), Renate Weitbrecht; Published by Droemer Knaur (1993); ISBN 3-426-26291-6
  14. Arrêt de Grande Chambre Ramirez Sanchez c. France. In: European Court of Human Rights , July 4, 2006, accessed January 20, 2016 (French).
  15. Magdalena Kopp: The Terror Years . With the collaboration of Hanne Reinhardt, DVA, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-421-04269-9
  16. ^ Joaquín Prieto: Hugo Chávez intentó que Francia liberase al terrorista Carlos. In: El País of December 2, 2001, accessed on July 14, 2015 (Spanish)
  17. Simon Romero: Chavez Offers Public Defense for Carlos the Jackal. In: New York Times of November 21, 2009, accessed July 14, 2015
  18. Maduro afirma que el apoyo Venezuela mantendrá a "El Chacal". ( Memento of the original from July 14, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: El Universal of September 14, 2011, accessed July 14, 2015 (Spanish)  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  19. ^ Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, El Chacal, molesto por la negativa de Maduro a hacerse cargo de los gastos de su defensa. In: of May 14, 2013, accessed on July 14, 2015 (Spanish)
  20. My love for Carlos the Jackal. Fairfax Digital, March 25, 2004, accessed September 9, 2014 .
  21. Entrevista exclusiva de RT: Ilich Ramírez, alias 'El Chacal', habla desde la cárcel. In: RT from August 28, 2014, accessed on July 14, 2015 (Spanish)
  22. Lori Hinnant and Greg Keller (Associated Press): Carlos the Jackal: Ex-enigma now mired in court. In: Yahoo News, May 13, 2013, accessed July 14, 2015
  23. a b Rheinische Post of May 28, 2011, page C5
  24. ^ Announcement of the film on IMDB
  25. Film excerpts from the 3 parts ( Memento of the original from December 22, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /