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Aggravated Damage Charges Dropped against Klinghoffer’s Killer

April 27, 1987

GENOA, Italy (AP) _ A court dropped charges of aggravated damage Monday against a Palestinian convicted of killing an American passenger during the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.

Youssef Magid al-Molqi, serving a 30-year sentence for killing wheelchair- bound Leon Klinghoffer and hijacking the ship, faced the damage charges for breaking two windows in a Genoa prison.

The court promptly dropped the charges, citing a recent law granting amnesty to those accused of committing minor crimes.

″I already asked for forgiveness,″ Molqi told the court before the decision was announced. ″I did it in a fit of anger.″

Molqi also shouted that he was being treated badly in prison. He did not elaborate.

Molqi was one of six Palestinians convicted in the hijacking of the Achille Lauro off Egypt during a Mediterranean cruise that began in this northern port city in October 1985.

Klinghoffer’s body and wheelchair were thrown overboard. Klinghoffer was from New York City.

Three of the defendants were tried in absentia and sentenced to life in prison. Two others were sentenced to 24 years and 15 years in prison and are in Italian custody.

Appeals are scheduled to begin May 18.

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