France tries Carlos the Jackal over 1974 store bombing

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The political extremist known as Carlos the Jackal is due to appear at a French court for a deadly 1974 attack at a Paris shopping arcade, a trial that victims' families have been awaiting for decades.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, right, better known as the terrorist Carlos, is already serving time for murderous attacks.

If convicted, the 67-year-old Marxist terrorist could get a third life sentence.

"The victims have been waiting so long for Ramirez to be judged and convicted".

Speaking to Reuters before the trial, Ramirez's lawyer Francis Vuillemin said the charges against Ramirez were non-existent.

The Jackal became one of the world's most wanted fugitives after an operation in which he took OPEC oil ministers hostage in the name of the Palestinian struggle. He was convicted for the murders of two police officers in Paris and of a Lebanese revolutionary, the Guardian reports.

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Carlos has pleaded innocent and denied involvement in the case. Sanchez was previously found guilty of four bombings in Paris and Marseille during the 1980s, responsible for killing 11 people and injuring 150.

Ramirez Sanchez's long-time lawyer and fiancé, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, claims that none of the witnesses from the Drugstore Publicis restaurant had described a man resembling her client, and that the whole case was trumped-up. "What exactly is the point of having a trial so long after the events?"

It is probably the last case concerning his past to come to trial.

In an interview with Al Watan Al-Arabi magazine in 1979, Ramirez admitted to throwing the grenade to force the French government to give in to the demands of the Japanese Red Army, a communist militant group, which was demanding the release of one of its members who had been arrested at Paris Orly airport two months earlier.

Prosecutors said the grenade bombing he is a accused of carrying out is linked to an earlier hostage-taking at the French Embassy in The Hague of which he is accused of orchestrating.

Investigators have tracked the provenance of the grenade and say it came from the same batch as those used by the Hague hostage-takers and had been stolen from a United States army base in 1972. "Democracy has two principal enemies - totalitarianism, and terrorism", he said, suggesting that Carlos is among "those who threaten democracy by their actions".

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