Alert 'Carlos' appears before a French judge

August 17, 1994|By New York Times News Service

PARIS -- There were reports he was wasted by dissolute living, his lawyer said he was drugged before being extradited to France on Monday, but the legendary terrorist known as "Carlos" in fact seemed quite chirpy yesterday when he appeared before a judge for probably the first time in his life.

After spending a night in prison, he was taken handcuffed and under heavy guard to the Palais de Justice office of France's top anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere. Witnesses said he remarked on the assault rifles carried by his escorts. "They are good," he said.

When Judge Bruguiere appeared, Carlos exclaimed: "Ah, here's the judge. How are you?"

"And you?" asked the judge.

"I'm still alive, and for a long time to come," replied Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.

But after two hours of closed-door interrogation, during which he was arraigned on charges of planning a bombing that killed one person and wounded 63 others in Paris in 1982, the 44-year-old Venezuelan-born guerrilla "emerged less smiling than when he entered," one witness said.

Although Carlos was linked to attacks in Germany, Britain and Austria, France was believed to be the single greatest victim of his violence. Two years ago, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia for killing two French security agents here in 1975, and more charges are likely to be brought against him.

France also was the country that most stubbornly pursued him, following his trail for almost two decades and eventually tracking him down early this year, finding him hiding in Sudan under a false name. After lengthy negotiations, Sudan arrested him Sunday and handed him over to French security agents who flew him to Paris.

French newspapers were rife with speculation yesterday over what the Islamic government of Sudan was given in return for delivering Carlos. Le Monde wondered whether the arrest could be linked to France's decision in December to free two Iranians who were wanted for murder in Switzerland.

Liberation asserted that France provided the military government in Khartoum with satellite photographs identifying the positions of rebel forces in southern Sudan.

But French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua insisted that there was no trade-off, dismissing the reports as "disinformation" and suggesting instead that Sudan, which has been accused of sponsoring terrorism, was simply eager to improve its image. Khartoum also has stated that it made no deal with France.

Carlos was accompanied during his interrogation by a lawyer, Mourad Oussedik, who told reporters that his client had been "kidnapped" because France had filed no formal extradition request.

Mr. Oussedik said that Carlos was relaxed during the hearing and that he discussed points "freely and objectively" with the investigating judge.

It was later announced that Carlos had hired one of France's best-known lawyers, Jacques Verges, a former Communist who defended the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie during his trial in Lyon in 1987.

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