Carlos the Jackal, once one of the world's most wanted criminals, lost his appeal of a guilty verdict for deadly bomb attacks in France three decades ago, as a Paris court this morning (NZ time) reaffirmed a life sentence in prison.
The Venezuelan defendant, 63, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, had appealed a guilty verdict handed down in December 2011 for masterminding four separate attacks on two trains, a train station and a Paris street that killed 11 people and wounded about 150 more.
The appeals court ruled that Ramirez will serve a minimum of 18 years of the life term.
Before the verdict, the Marxist militant and self-dubbed "elite gunman" who became a symbol of Cold War anti-imperialism delivered a four-hour rambling monologue touching on everything from US foreign policy to Basque separatism and Hezbollah.
"I have fought all my life against terrorists," Ramirez said. "We are not terrorists, we are freedom fighters!"
Ramirez - who is already serving a separate life term from 1997 for killing two French police officers and an informant in 1975 - sealed his notoriety in 1975 with a daring hostage-taking of Opec oil ministers in Vienna in the name of the Palestinian struggle. He went on to become an international gun-for-hire with Soviet bloc protectors.
But the revolutionary mystique Ramirez once enjoyed - helped by a Che Guevara beret, leather jacket and dark glasses - has worn thin from nearly two decades behind bars in France since his 1994 capture in Khartoum by French special forces, which he calls an illegal kidnapping.
Ramirez denies involvement in the four attacks in 1982 and 1983 that killed 11 people and wounded about 150. He says the case against him that took 13 years to build is based on forged documents from Eastern European secret service agencies.
Prosecutors say the bombs that ripped through two trains, a Marseille train station and parked cars in Paris were Ramirez's answer to the arrest of two of his gang, including his lover.