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Calls on France to Protest His Assault on the Independence of French Judiciary.

Paris, 24 November 2009

In a letter to French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Bernard Kouchner, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed the Centre's concern "at the statement yesterday by Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, vindicating convicted terrorist 'Carlos' Ilich Ramirez Sanchez."

Samuels noted that "'Carlos the Jackal' was condemned by a Paris court in 1997 for the murder of two French policemen and is still held in French custody. He was implicated in numerous other terrorist atrocities."

The Centre considered President Chavez' statement "as a new threshold in the heroization of terrorism and, certainly, a direct intervention in the independence of the French judiciary, impugning its credibility."

"We call on France to vigorously protest President Chavez' statement and the message he transmits to the youth of the Americas and worldwide", concluded Samuels.