On August 14th 1994, terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez, long known as Carlos the Jackal, was 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.
Ramírez Sánchez, the son of José Altagarcia Ramírez-Navas, a Marxist lawyer, and Elba Maria Sánchez, was born in the state of Táchira, Venezuela on October 12th 1949. Despite his mother’s pleas to give their firstborn child a Christian first name, José called him Ilich, after V.I. Lenin. Two younger siblings were named “Lenin” (born 1951) and “Vladimir” (born 1958). Ilich attended a school in Caracas and joined the youth movement of the national communist party in 1959.
Sanchez, who was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Organisation 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 organise 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.This Day In History