The New York Times
November 15, 1998

'Carlos the Jackal' on Hunger Strike in Prison

          By CRAIG R. WHITNEY

               PARIS -- The terrorist who calls himself Carlos has been on a
               hunger strike for 11 days, protesting his four years of solitary
          confinement in a French prison, where he is serving a life sentence for

          Carlos, 49, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, has been drinking
          water, and his life is not threatened, said officials at the Sante Prison. They
          said they had no intention of changing their treatment of him.

          In handwritten letters in French and English made available by his lawyers,
          Carlos says he is preparing for his death and has called on his supporters
          to kill one American or Israeli for every one of the 1,551 days he has
          been held in France.

          French agents acting on a tip from the CIA seized Carlos from a hospital
          room in Sudan in August 1994. He was brought here and tried for murder
          in shootings, bombings and other acts of terrorism that the authorities
          accused him of committing on French soil in the 1970s and against French
          institutions elsewhere in the 1980s.

          "I love France, eternal France, and I would regard as personal betrayal
          any attack in my name on a French citizen," Carlos said in a declaration in
          French titled "In case of my death," distributed by one of his lawyers,
          Isabelle Coutant-Peyre.

          "By contrast, I ask as the last wish of a living martyr that a United States
          or Zionist enemy be executed for each day that I have spent in prison in
          France, and that's the duty of my comrades, of all mujahedeen and of all
          the revolutionaries of the world," he wrote, using the Arabic word for holy
          warriors and signing off with "God is great," in the name of the Palestinian

          The son of a Venezuelan Marxist lawyer, Carlos was named Ilich in honor
          of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and was sent to Moscow to deepen his
          knowledge of Marxism.

          After being expelled as a troublemaker from Lumumba University in
          Moscow in 1970, he found his way to Beirut, Lebanon, and adopted his
          nom de guerre at the suggestion of a leader of the Popular Front for the
          Liberation of Palestine. Advocating violent struggle, the group gave
          Carlos the first vehicle for his anti-American revolutionary ambitions.

          After leading a series of spectacular actions that included the kidnapping
          of the oil ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
          in Vienna in 1975, he allied himself with the West German terrorist group
          Baader-Meinhof. For a few years during the Cold War, he was allowed
          to operate from East Berlin, Budapest and other Communist capitals in
          Eastern Europe.

          In a new book about him ("Jackal," published in London by Weidenfeld
          & Nicolson), John Follain, a British journalist, says Carlos sought refuge
          in Syria when the Communists tired of him. The Syrians, learning that the
          French were on his trail, tried to expel him to Libya in 1991, but the
          authorities there did not want him, either.

          Eventually he wound up in Sudan, where he was recovering from an
          operation when French agents, with the tacit approval of the Sudanese
          authorities, pounced on him, wrapped him up in a burlap bag and flew him
          to Paris in an executive jet.

          He was convicted in Paris last Dec. 24 of the murder of two French
          police agents and a Lebanese informer in the Latin Quarter in 1975.

          On Nov. 3 he began his hunger strike, he said in an open letter to Justice
          Minister Elisabeth Guigou, after being accused of insulting a prison guard.

          The prison authorities disciplined Carlos with five days of stricter solitary
          confinement, saying he had cursed at and insulted the guard, who had
          interrupted a meeting with his lawyers.

          "I do not know the professions of the mother of this individual, or his
          sexual inclinations, and I did not yell at him questioning his virility or his
          mother's morality," Carlos wrote. "On the other hand, I did criticize his
          lack of civil courage and disregard for his own origins shown by
          conducting himself like an agent of colonialism." The guard is of West
          Indian descent.

          He then vowed to refuse to take food or water to protest interference
          with his mailing privileges and to demand the right to receive visitors other
          than lawyers and take French lessons, Mrs. Coutant-Peyre said. The
          prison authorities said Carlos had partly broken his fast on Tuesday night
          by drinking nearly a gallon of mineral water.