PARIS -- Carlos the Jackal, the flamboyant terrorist and self-proclaimed revolutionary who was once one of the Cold War's most wanted men, is appealing his life sentence for orchestrating bombings in France two decades ago. Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, is serving two life sentences in France for a triple murder in 1975 and for the bombings in 1982 and 1983 that killed 11 people and injured more than 140. He's been jailed since 1994 after French agents whisked him out of Sudan in a sack.
The world first caught sight of Carlos in the 1975 hostage-taking of OPEC oil ministers -- a young man standing on the runway wearing sunglasses, a black Che Guevara beret and a Pierre Cardin leather jacket, according to one of his numerous biographies. Intelligence agencies linked him to the 1976 Palestinian hijacking of a French jetliner to Entebbe, Uganda, the four bombings in France and other hijackings, explosions and deaths throughout the Cold War. By his own account, Ramirez, who joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and was affiliated with extreme-left European terror groups, killed 83 people over the years. "I'm a professional revolutionary. The world is my domain," he said at his 1997 trial.
He threatened a campaign of terror against France in 1982 unless the government freed Magdalena Kopp, the West German left-wing radical who later became his first wife. That year, bombs exploded on two French express trains, a train station and in central Paris.
For years, Carlos the Jackal was known only via a handful of hazy black-and-white photos. But the fall of Communism in 1989 spelled the end of his career, and Ramirez fled to Sudan, where he was captured by French agents with the apparent acquiescence of the Sudanese government. He's been jailed ever since -- something the outcome of this appeal is unlikely to change.