New German Fortitude
Mohammed Ali Hamadi is a terrorist, (a murderer), and purportedly was spending the remainder of his days on earth in a German prison. Victoria Toensing has a historical overview of crimes and capture.
Hamadi was tried in Frankfurt for the June 14, 1985, hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and the murder of Navy diver Robert Stethem. Our government had strongly requested that Hamadi be extradited here to be tried in U.S. courts, but the Germans refused. The refusal was based on terrorists’ demands not to extradite or they would kill two German hostages in Lebanon.
Hamadi’s arrest was a fluke. He was questioned at the Frankfurt airport in January, 1987, because of suspicious behavior. That “border stop” led the authorities to discover explosive material hidden in his possession. Only after he was booked and fingerprinted did the Germans realize who they had in custody. Immediately, the Kohl government notified the United States.
Notice that the crime committed was against the United States; it was an American airliner that was hijacked and a member of the American Navy. He harmed American citizens. The only claim and jurisdiction that West Germany had was that the bastard was captured on their soil. Our government wanted him and swiftly pursued extradition along all proper legal channels. However
within 24 hours of the public announcement of Hamadi’s arrest, a German citizen was kidnapped in Beirut; within a few days the terrorists grabbed a second German hostage.
The great urgency suddenly subsided into a six-month lull while the Germans delayed and delayed their decision on extradition.
West Germany had no victims among the attacks and really had no stake in the matter. Essentialy when terrorists would make demands as terrorists do, with hostages in the mix, the Germans and their own citizenry would be less strict and steadfast as to carrying out the life sentence.
When I was in Bonn in June, 1987, negotiating Hamadi’s extradition, I warned the German delegation meeting with us that Hamadi would be a “hot potato.” If they convicted him, they would always have to deal with threats for his release. It would be far better to send him to the United States, I argued, where we had the resolve to keep him because he was charged with the murder of an American serviceman, the hostage-taking of U.S. citizens and the hijacking of a U.S. carrier… the German government might not have the strong support of its people to continue to imprison a convicted terrorist when fellow Germans’ lives are once again being threatened-as was the situation on the extradition decision.
Essentially Toensing recognized that the next set of demands would only be a matter of time and she wished the Germans well in confronting them. The time has come; the current administration of policy-makers in “Germany has quietly released” the bastard and the popular theory is that it was a trade with terrorists as
Hamadi’s release occurred shortly before German hostage Susanne Osthoff was freed in Iraq. The archaeologist was taken on Nov. 25 and was said by German authorities on Sunday to be in safe custody.
Is that a disturbing coincidence?
he German Foreign Ministry however has denied any link between the Hamadi and Osthoff releases. “There is no connection between these two cases,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jäger told Reuters.
But a Lebanese source told Reuters that a senior German intelligence officer visited Damascus early this month but did not disclose the purpose of the trip. Syria is a key backer of Hezbollah and Hamadi’s brother, Abdul-Hadi, was a senior security official of the group.
Germany freed the murderer of a U.S. Navy diver despite personal intervention by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the State Department has confirmed, amid speculation that Berlin let the Hizballah terrorist go as part of a deal to free a German hostage in Iraq.
Mohammed Ali Hamadi flew to Lebanon after being released last week, 18 years after he was sentenced to “life” imprisonment for hijacking a U.S. airliner in 1985 and killing 23-year-old Petty Officer Robert Stethem.
Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S., and Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora appeared unmoved Wednesday by American requests that Hamadi be handed over.
The Germans acted, apparently, faithful to their own legal system. One shouldn’t confuse the current German regime with that of West Germany, although the current system takes more from the West than the East prior to reunification. The simple part is that the Germans now have an interesting precedent. If it is true that the Germans would overturn justice so terrorists would not kill one of their citizens and that is actually what happened then there is no German principle against acting in a similar manner in the future. It was best that the killer face American justice. Now, as State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Wednesday
At this point, I think what I can assure anybody who’s listening, including Mr. Hamadi, is that we will track him down. We will find him, and we will bring him to justice in the United States for what he’s done.
. Some things should not be let go.
As it is I finally recalled why Victoria Toensing’s name sounds so familiar to me. She was on the Sean Hannity Show within the last couple months and is a technical expert on the legalities surrounding disclosure of identity within and of CIA employees.