BONN (Jul. 11)
The trial of Mohammed Hamadei will resume in Frankfurt Wednesday. It was adjourned two hours after it opened last week after a key witness failed to show up because of a clerical error.
Hamadei is the Lebanese accused of hijacking a TWA airliner in 1985 and murdering a passenger, U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem of Waldorf, Md.
He was arrested at Frankfurt airport in January 1987 and charged with carrying explosives. Further investigation identified him as the internationally wanted hijacker.
Shortly afterward, two West German businessmen were kidnapped in Beirut and held hostage by friends of Hamadei. West German authorities rejected an American request for extradition.
The trial in Frankfurt is seen as a test of the Bonn government’s resolve to fight international terrorism. Hamadei’s defense contends he was under 18 at the time of the hijacking and should be tried as a juvenile.
The prosecution disputes the authenticity of documents sent from Lebanon to show Hamadei is younger than the age on his passport when he was arrested. It indicates he had just turned 18 at the time of the hijacking.
The witness supposed to testify last week is a German who knew Hamadei several years ago and was expected to clear up the issue of his age. The witness did not appear because he had been summoned by error for a different day.