August 14

This Day in History

Crime

Aug 14, 1994:

The terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal is captured

Terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez, long known as Carlos the Jackal, is captured in Khartoum, Sudan, by French intelligence agents. Since there was no extradition treaty with Sudan, the French agents sedated and kidnapped Carlos. The Sudanese government, claiming that it had assisted in the arrest, requested that the United States remove their country from its list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

Sanchez, who was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Organization for Armed Arab Struggle, and the Japanese Red Army, was widely believed to be responsible for numerous terrorist attacks between 1973 and 1992. In 1974, he took the French ambassador and 10 others hostage at the Hague, demanding that French authorities release Yutaka Furuya of the Japanese Red Army.

On June 27, 1975, French police officers tried to arrest Sanchez in a Paris apartment, but he killed two officers in an ensuing gun battle and escaped. In June 1992, Sanchez was tried in absentia for these murders and convicted.

On December 21, 1975, Sanchez and a group of his men took 70 OPEC officials hostage at a Vienna conference. They made it to safety with somewhere between $25 million and $50 million in ransom money, but not before killing three hostages. Sanchez claimed responsibility for these crimes in an interview with the Arab magazine, Al Watan al Arabi.

In the subsequent trial that resulted in his imprisonment, Sanchez was represented by Jacque Verges, who had reportedly helped to organize a failed rocket attack on a French nuclear power plant in 1982. Verges was also accused of sending a threatening letter from Sanchez to the French authorities so that Sanchez's girlfriend (possibly his wife), German terrorist Magdalena Kopp, could be released. He bitterly denied the charges.

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