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This story is developing faster than I can follow it:
Navy Diver's Killer Held In BeirutJeff Goldstein has background on the story here. Stay tuned for further developments.
U.S., relatives slam Lebanese militant's release from German prison
The Lebanese killer of a U.S. Navy diver was in custody in Beirut yesterday, according to U.S. officials who decried his release from a German prison last week and pledged to bring him to the United States for trial.
Relatives of the victim -- Waldorf, Md., native Robert Dean Stethem -- said yesterday they were "devastated" to learn of the killer's release and urged the Bush administration to demand an explanation from Germany.
"Just to see him free slays us," said Richard Stethem, father of the seaman whose beaten body was thrown onto a Beirut runway in 1985.
Mohammad Ali Hamadi, a member of the Hezbollah guerrilla group, received a life sentence in Germany for hijacking a TWA plane to Beirut and fatally shooting Petty Officer 2nd Class Stethem, but was paroled after 18 years and freed on Thursday.
The United States, which has been seeking Hamadi's extradition since his 1987 capture in Frankfurt, privately expressed anger at his early release, but officials said they were determined to "get our hands on him."
"We are going to make every effort to see that he stands trial here in the United States," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "We are disappointed now that he has been released before the end of his full sentence."
In an unrelated amazing coincidence, a German hostage was freed in Iraq.
German hostage freed in Iraq isn't rushing homeHopefully she'll return "home" soon. It's not clear how many additional terrorists might be nearing the end of their life sentences in German prisons, should the need for more amazing coincidences arise.
A 43-year-old German woman who was held hostage in Iraq for more than three weeks will not immediately return home to Germany, the foreign ministry said on Monday.
"She wants to spend a few days with her daughter protected from the public and so will probably not immediately return to Germany," a foreign ministry spokesman told a news conference.
"We assume however that she will leave Iraq in the near future," he said.
Archaeologist Susanne Osthoff, a convert to Islam who speaks fluent Arabic, disappeared on Nov. 25. She had spent more than a decade working on excavations in Iraq.
Update: More here.
According to Captain's Quarters the Lebonese now have the S.O.B. in custody. No word yet on how long they intend to hold him or whether they'll turn him over to the U.S.Posted by Bill Faith at December 21, 2005 11:12 PM
Ramsey Clark has probably already sent the guy a retainer agreement.Posted by Jim - PRS at December 22, 2005 02:10 AM
I would have preferred to see him die of old age in prison, the release was in the works for months:
"The American officials said they were aware that Mr. Hamadi would be granted a parole hearing at some point this year and had sought discussions with German security officials over the possibility of turning him over to the United States in the event he was released. But Mr. Hamadi flew to Lebanon before any agreement was reached, the officials said, adding that German officials had long expressed reservations about handing Mr. Hamadi over to the United States, where he might face the death penalty."
He wasn't extradited to the Unites tstes because of double jeopardy, and and because he would have faced the death penalty, which is against the German constitution. The whole thing was about bureaucracy grinding along.
The federal government had no jusrisdiction here, the Hessian authorities did. Hezbollah also had tried, without success, to get Hamadi free by abducting German citizens and exchanging him for the hostages. Since I have no reason to assume that Merkel is softer on terror than her predecessors, I have good reason to assume that he wasn't let go to get this particular hostage released.Posted by Ralf Goergens at December 22, 2005 01:44 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(3) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)