Mohammed Ali Hamadi To Be Tried Before Juvenile Court
FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ Frankfurt officials said today that Mohammed Ali Hamadi, charged with air piracy and murder in the 1985 TWA hijacking to Beirut, will be tried before a juvenile court.
The decision by the Frankfurt state court means the 23-year-old Hamadi faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment if convicted. If tried as an adult, Hamadi could have received life imprisonment if found guilty.
Hamadi’s trial had been expected to begin at the end of May, officials said last week. Today’s decision made no mention of a date, although it indicated the start of the trial might be delayed.
″The Hesse state youth court will now need time to study the case files before it can decide on when Mohammed Hamadi’s trial will start,″ the court statement said.
The statement, telexed to news media, said the state prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt had listed Hamadi’s birth date as June 13, 1964.
″However, a possibility exists that the perpetration of the crime that he is accused of may have begun before June 13, 1985, and goes back to the time of his adolescence.
″Therefore, the case has been turned over to the youth court,″ the statement said.
A federal Justice Ministry spokesman said the juvenile court could decide to exclude the press from Hamadi’s trial.
″The press can be excluded from the trial if the court finds it is in the best interest of the accused,″ said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said the decision on whether to bar the press would not be made until the trial begins.
The charges against Hamadi stem from a hijacking that began June 15, 1985. On that day, Shiite Moslem gunmen seized a TWA jetliner on an Athens-to-Rome flight and forced it to Beirut, Lebanon. One American, a U.S. Navy diver, was killed during the hijacking and 39 Americans were held hostage for 17 days before being released.
Abbas Hamadi, 29, is on trial on charges of kidnapping two West Germans in an attempt to force authorities to release his brother, who was arrested at Frankfurt airport Jan. 13, 1987, carrying liquid explosives and false documents.
The United States sought Mohammed Hamadi’s extradition on air piracy and murder charges. But West Germany refused after the two Germans were kidnapped in Lebanon.
One West German was freed in September. The other remains a captive.