Self-Described PLO Officer Convicted on Arms Charges
VERONA, Italy (AP) _ A man who described himself as a PLO captain was convicted Wednesday of illegal possession of explosives and guns and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
After the sentence was read against him, Omar Saada Salem Abdel Fatah declared: ″This is the law in Italy and you can’t do anything about it, but Italy must be careful because there are 20,000 commandos here.″
The Rome office of the Palestine Liberation Organization issued a statement saying Fatah was not a member of the organization ″but played a precise role against it, on the orders of the Syrian secret services.″
Fatah, 38, was arrested Nov. 28 in a house outside this northern Italian city where police found 20 kilograms of explosives, timers, a remote control detonator, two submachine guns, three pistols and ammunition.
He testified at the one-day trial that he was trained in sabotage and admitted he brought the arms into Italy. But he denied he had participated in any terrorist acts in this country or had planned to do so.
He said he had been waiting for orders to transfer the arms to Jordan.
Fatah’s sister-in-law, Fulvia Boni, 46, owner of the house where the arms were found, received a 12-month suspended sentence, and a third defendant, Renzo Veronesi, 24, got a 14-month suspended sentence. Both were charged with collaboration in the illegal possession of arms.