Another Member of the Jackal's Pack on Trial
V I E N N A, Austria, Oct. 17 -- Over two decades after he took part in a daring kidnapping of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna, an accomplice of jailed guerrilla Carlos the Jackal went on trial in Germany today.
Hans-Joachim Klein was extradited from France last year, 23 years after German authorities first sought him on suspicion of kidnapping and involvement in the killing of three people and the attempted murder of three others in the 1975 hostage-taking.
Carlos and five accomplices raided the OPEC meeting and took 70 people hostage, including Saudi Arabia’s powerful oil minister Sheikh Yamani. They got away with them to Algiers, and then disappeared. A Libyan, and Iranian and a Vienna policeman died.
The hostage raid was the most spectacular attack by the Venezuelan-born Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.
Life on the Run
As Klein, 52, took the stand, wearing a gray jacket, his graying hair slightly unkempt, he complained about having spent years on the run because of his role in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raid.
“I just cannot understand why I had to spend half of my life on the run for 10 minutes of OPEC,” he told the court, referring to the length of the final shootout.
Klein was shot and seriously injured in the stomach during the kidnapping, but was treated and allowed to fly to Algiers with his accomplices and their hostages. He later took refuge in Libya before going underground.
Klein has not denied his role in the OPEC raid, but claims he never fired a gun or killed anyone. In 1977, two years after the raid, he split with Carlos.
The reason for the raid, Carlos announced at the time, was to try to prevent a pending U.N. resolution which they believed would legalize “the legality of Zionist existence on Palestinian land.”
German sources say Klein is expected to name Libya’s maverick leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi as the mastermind behind the OPEC raid.
Ties to Power
ABC News Live
24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events