CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- The government said Monday that it taking
steps to allow the Venezuelan-born terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal to
vote on the country's new constitution.
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who is serving a life sentence in France, "wants
vote" in the referendum scheduled for Wednesday, said Ernesto Kleber, a
top Foreign Ministry official.
The constitution is the centerpiece of a radical reform program being led
President Hugo Chavez, who provoked controversy earlier this year when he
exchanged letters with Ramirez and addressed him as "Dear compatriot."
Once considered among the world's most wanted men, the 49-year-old
Ramirez was linked to the 1975 seizure of OPEC ministers in Vienna,
Austria, and the 1976 hijacking of an Air France jet to Uganda.
He was detained in Khartoum, Sudan, in 1994 and hauled in a sack to Paris,
where a French court sentenced him to life in prison for the murder of two
French secret agents and an informer.
Kleber said Venezuela may take Ramirez's case to the European Human
Rights Commission. Venezuelan authorities charge that Ramirez's capture
was illegal and that his human rights have been violated in prison.
The government also ordered Venezuela's ambassador in France to monitor
a trial this week in which Ramirez may be extradited to Austria.
Ramirez's family in Venezuela, including his father, an aging Marxist lawyer,
have lobbied the Venezuelan government to protect Carlos' rights. The
government has agreed to do so, saying they are obligated to assist all
Venezuelan citizens who are imprisoned overseas.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press