Germany Denies It Assured U.S. It Wouldn’t Swap Hamadi
BONN, West Germany (AP) _ The government Friday denied reports that it assured the United States it will continue holding a Lebanese man accused of hijacking a U.S. airliner.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Charles Redman said Thursday that West Germany recently told American officials that they did not plan to swap Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a Lebanese Shiite Moslem, for West German hostages held in Lebanon.
The United States has asked for Mohammed Ali Hamadi’s extradition to stand trial on murder and air piracy charges in connection with the June 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner.
Chief government spokesman Friedhelm Ost, asked about accounts of Redman’s comments, denied the reports.
″We receive reports of this sort every day and they are all false,″ Ost told reporters at a regular government press conference.
Ost declined to elaborate, reminding reporters of a three-month government news blackout on the Hamadi case.
The spokesman also refused comment on the repeated calls by U.S. officials for Hamadi’s quick extradtion.
″I will not pass judgment on these comments,″ said Ost when asked if he thought statements by U.S. officials on the Hamadi case were helpful.
″We are aware of the wishes of the U.S. government and we will continue to carefully examine the U.S. extradition request (for Hamadi) as we have been doing,″ Ost told reporters.
Shortly after Hamadi, 22, was arrested at the Frankfurt airport Jan. 13, two West German businessmen were kidnapped in Beirut.
Hamadi’s older brother, Ali Abbas Hamadi, a naturalized West German citizen, was arrested two weeks later in Frankfurt in connection with the kidnappings.
Redman said the West German government had informed the United states that extradition requests generally take three to four months to process.
The U.S. request was formally filed 2 1/2 months ago.