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Venezuela's Communist Party urges Chavez to request repatriation of 'Carlos the Jackal'

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's Communist Party urged the government on Monday to seek the repatriation of convicted terrorist "Carlos the Jackal," who is serving a life sentence in France for murder.

Party representative Pedro Eusse said President Hugo Chavez's administration should ask France to let Ramirez serve the remainder of his sentence in his homeland.

The Venezuelan-born prisoner, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, is not getting adequate health care in France and authorities there are denying his right to communicate with lawyers, Eusse charged.

"They have violated his human rights, he's been incommunicado," he said at a news conference.

Eusse described Ramirez's health as "delicate" without giving any details.

There was no immediate comment from France's government about Eusse's charges or from officials in Chavez's administration on the Communist Party's petition.

Ramirez is serving a life sentence for the 1975 murders in Paris of two French investigators and Michel Moukharbal, a Lebanese man who was an informant for the French government.

He also has been blamed for a series of Cold War-era bombings, assassinations and hostage dramas, including the 1976 hijacking of an Air France jet en route to Uganda. He has testified that he led a 1975 attack that killed three people at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Venezuela's then-oil minister, Valentin Hernandez Acosta, was one of the 70 hostage seized by the attackers and later freed in Algeria.

Ramirez was captured in Khartoum, Sudan, in 1994, and hauled in a sack to Paris by French secret service agents. Venezuela's government has questioned whether Ramirez's rights were violated when he was abducted and whisked away to France.

It wasn't known how Chavez's administration would react to the Communist Party's petition. Telephone calls to Venezuela's Foreign Ministry seeking comment from government officials went unanswered Monday.

Chavez has praised Ramirez in the past as a "revolutionary fighter," saying he selflessly joined the Palestinian struggle as a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The comment raised concerns among Jewish organizations such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which said Chavez condoned terrorism by eulogizing Ramirez.

One of the socialist president's political opponents expressed doubts he would ask for the return of a convicted terrorist.

"I don't think Chavez will accept it because a move like that wouldn't been seen in a positive way by the people, given that Carlos — even though he's a Venezuelan and the government is responsible for ensuring his rights — has been accused and convicted of terrorism," Timoteo Zambrano, an opposition politician, said in a telephone interview.