Monday 7 July 2008

Achille Lauro: the Palestinian hijacker nobody wants

Source: Bennauro (Israel without ifs or buts)

"Abdellatif Ibrahim Fatayer, one of the men convicted of hijacking the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, was freed in Rome on Monday.

Fatayer, who was born in the Tel al-Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp north of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, is the youngest of the hijackers. According to the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, Fatayer was expected to be deported from Italy after serving a 21-year sentence plus three years under police surveillance. But Lebanon refused to accept him after he was freed from jail.

Fatayer was sentenced to 25 years' jail by an appeals court in the northern Italian city of Genoa but was freed after serving 21 years in April 2008, although he continued to remain under police surveillance.

He was one of four Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the ship on 7 October 1985, taking hostage 450 people in exchange for the release of 82 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. During the siege they shot and killed a wheelchair bound Jewish-American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, before throwing his body overboard.

At the beginning of April, a judge said Fatayer could be freed but could not obtain a residency permit to remain in Italy due to his previous terrorist activities. He was transferred to Rome's Ponte Galeria temporary reception centre, but was freed on Monday because Lebanon, his country of birth, does not recognise him as a citizen because he is a Palestinian refugee.

Of the other three hijackers, one disappeared in 1994 while on parole, one died in 2004 and the third, Youssef Al-molqi was sentenced to 30 years' jail in Italy. The militants belonged to the Palestine Liberation Front, a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation considered the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people at the time."

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