Lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who defended the leader of the “Barbarian gang” Youssouf Fofana and the Venezuelan terrorist Carlos – whom she married in prison – died on Friday April 12 at the age of 70, we learned with one of his relatives. She died Friday morning from cancer, said this relative, a lawyer, confirming information from Marianne.

In forty-five years of career, this unclassifiable criminal lawyer was notably the lawyer of the serial killer Charles Sobhraj, known as “the Serpent”, whom she went to welcome at the end of 2022 on his return to France, after twenty years in prison in Nepal. She also defended the polemicist Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, the writer Gabriel Matzneff, accused of child abuse, and Ali Riza Polat, sentenced to thirty years in prison for complicity in the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher. from the Porte de Vincennes, in January 2015.

“A young woman from a good family”, as she defined herself in a portrait that Agence France-Presse dedicated to her in 2011, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre had an early life, bourgeois and orderly. Married at 21 to Michel Peyre, who was deputy mayor UDF (Union for French Democracy) of Granville, she had three children with him. The couple separated in 1993.

In 1979, she took the oath and specialized in business law. It was then that she met the sulphurous lawyer Jacques Vergès (disappeared in 2013), who shared the “same insolence” with her, but whom she said she did not consider as her “mentor”.

In 1997, in a corridor of the Health prison, she met Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, an episode recounted in an extremely romantic manner in his book Marrying Carlos, published in 2004. On August 25, 2001, she recounts, “we we mutually asked for our hand. (…) And he recited the Fatiha, the Quranic profession of faith, to better seal this solemn commitment.” In her eyes, Carlos, whom she compared to Nelson Mandela, was “not a criminal”, but “a politician. A freedom fighter, a revolutionary.”

In March 2004, during a talk show on France 2, she spoke of the “very deep” feelings and the great “intellectual complicity” which united her with her companion.