CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan Marxist militant Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, insisted on Sunday he be extradited to his home country after a French court sentenced him to another life prison term for bombing attacks in the 1970s.
In a vitriolic interview with Venezuelan state radio, Ramirez accused corrupt diplomats of preventing his return as laid out under a 1999 agreement between President Hugo Chavez former French President Jacques Chirac.
“The problem is political, it can be resolved politically despite the corrupt traitors in Venezuela that receive bribes and ... do everything possible to slow my return to Venezuela,” said Ramirez, 62.
Once one of the world’s most wanted criminals, Ramirez gained notoriety with his dramatic 1975 assault on an OPEC meeting in Vienna where he took dozens of hostages including 11 oil ministers. He has been in prison in France for almost 20 years serving a life sentence in a separate case.
Ramirez last week was sentenced to at least 18 years in prison for masterminding four separate attacks in France on two trains, a train station and a Paris street that killed 11 people and wounded nearly 200.
On Sunday he sent his regards to Chavez but warned the Venezuelan president he was “too human, a paratroop commander who does not like blood” and was not doing enough to root the turn-coats of his self-styled socialist revolution.
“I also don’t like blood, but blood sometimes has to be spilled, overall the blood of the enemy. We have to clean up the country,” he said. “I’m not talking about the opposition ... those traitors and spies must be eliminated.”
Chavez, who has described Ramirez as a friend, last month called him a “worthy promoter” of justice and insisted his rights be respected in the trial. Chavez has drawn criticism for openly admiring a man Western governments consider a terrorist.
A former soldier who entered politics after leading a failed military uprising in 1992, Chavez won over millions of followers through heavy social spending of the country’s oil revenue.
His critics call him a fledgling dictator who has concentrated power and persecuted political adversaries.
Writing by Brian Ellsworth; editing by Anthony Boadle