TEL AVIV (Jul. 17)
Kozo Okamoto was sentenced to life imprisonment today by a three-man military tribunal that found him guilty on all counts relating to his participation in the May 30 Lydda Airport massacre. The sentence was read to the crowded court this evening by Lt. Col. Abraham Frisch, president of the tribunal as the 24-year-old Japanese “kamikaze” gunman stood impassive, handcuffed to two military policemen.
Frisch acknowledged that the State Prosecutor, Lt. Col. David Israeli, did not demand the death penalty but asked instead for life imprisonment. Earlier, defense counsel Max Kritzman asked the court not to impose capital punishment and to avoid making Okamoto a martyr.
Okamoto received the life sentence for discharging firearms and throwing hand grenades that killed 26 people and wounded more than 70 others and participating with others in these actions. On another count of rendering service to an illegal organization (The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) he was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.
The verdict of guilty on all counts was rendered this morning and sentence was passed when the court reconvened briefly this evening. At the morning session Lt. Col. Frisch stated that the defendant’s guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt and noted that Okamoto had confessed to all charges against him.