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West Germans Sentenced for Disrupting Achille Lauro Trial

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Four pro-Palestinian West Germans were given three month suspended sentences for having disrupted the opening session of the Achille Lauro trial last week. The four shouted pro-Palestinian slogans as the trial of the hijackers started in the Genoa criminal court.

Petra Haack, 32, of Kiel, Gabrielle Scharenberg, 25, and Dirk Zieseniss, 24, both of Hanover, and Wolfgang Struwe of Bielefeld, were found guilty of “disruption of justice” Monday.

Judge Lino Monteverde, who heads the court dealing with the Achille Lauro hijacking, acquitted the four West Germans of more serious charges of advocating “terrorist methods,” for which the state prosecutor had asked they be given four year prison sentences to be followed by their expulsion from Italy.

Monteverde said in his verdict that this accusation had not been proven. The trial will resume Tuesday when state prosecutors will sum up the evidence against the defendants.

Fifteen persons are accused of the hijack. Ten are being tried in absentia. One of the defendants, Magie Al Mulqui, 23, is accused of murdering New York businessman Leon Klinghoffer with two bursts from an AK-47 assault rifle on October 8 and then ordering two crew members to throw his body into the sea.

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