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Atouni to Be Held in Custody Pending Trial

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Max Kennet today ordered Mouhammed Atouni to be held in custody pending trial on a series of charges related to his hijacking of a Lebanese airliner which he forced to land at Lod Airport Aug. 16. The Libyan national will be tried under the Israeli Aviation Act which permits trial for any offense committed in full or in part on Israeli soil.

Judge Kennet denied Atouni’s plea to be released on bail and ordered him to undergo psychiatric examination. His continued detention was requested by District Attorney Victoria strovsky Cohen who is preparing the charges sheets which will be presented in court later this week.

Atouni will be charged with seizing an aircraft by violence, threatening violence, illegal possession of weapons and illegal entry into Israel. The accused asked to be released on ball on grounds that he did not comprehend the serious ness of his acts. No date has been set for his trial which will be before a three-judge district court bench. Itzbak Aderet, a Tel Aviv lawyer, has been appointed by the court to serve as defense counsel.

The Amsterdam public prosecutor will decide soon whether to prosecute two El Al security officers involved in a shoot-out in the lobby of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel on May 9.

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