Norway to Turn Lufthansa Hijacker Over to Germany
OSLO, Norway (AP) _ The government rejected a Palestinian woman’s final appeal Friday, clearing the way for her extradition to Germany to face charges in the 1977 hijacking of a Lufthansa airliner.
Suhaila al Sayeh, 42, was the only one of four hijackers to survive when German anti-terror police stormed the plane in Somalia and freed the passengers.
After a complex legal battle, the Norwegian court system and the Ministry of Justice had already approved her extradition to Germany on charges that include hijacking, attempted murder and being an accessory in the murder of the airliner’s captain.
``This was a very difficult matter,″ said Justice Minister Grete Faremo. But she said the charges were so grave that the government felt it proper to extradite her despite the many years that had passed since the offenses.
Justice Ministry official Mette Blekken said it would be up to the Oslo police to decide when al Sayeh would be turned over to Germany. Police said details of her transport to Germany had not been settled, but they expected a prompt extradition.
Al Sayeh, known as Souhaila Andrawes in Norway, was severely injured when police stormed the plane to end the five-day hijacking. She disappeared after serving a brief prison term in Somalia.
After 17 years on the run, she was arrested a year ago in Oslo, where she had lived for about three years with her Palestinian husband and young daughter.
Many Norwegians argued that she should be allowed to stay in the country on humanitarian grounds, mainly because of her daughter.
``I am deeply hurt and disappointed that the humanitarian aspects of this case weren’t given more weight by the government. I am facing a very uncertain future. All I know is that the German authorities are paying for the airfare,″ al Sayeh told the Norwegian news agency NTB.
NTB said al Sayeh could face up to nine years in prison in Germany.