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Greece Defers Extradition Move

Justice Minister Yiannis Skoularikis said Tuesday he will wait until after the June 18 general elections here to decide whether to extradite alleged Palestinian terrorist Mohammad Rashid, who is wanted in the United States for a fatal airliner bombing.

Skoularikis said he informed U.S. Ambassador Robert Kelly of the delay.

The Greek Supreme Court ruled 4-1 last Friday that Rashid should be extradited. But under Greek law, the justice minister can uphold or override the court’s decree.

By postponing a decision until the elections are over, Skoularikis avoided an embarrassment for the Socialist government, which is expected to lose the elections.

The Socialists thereby will antagonize neither the United States nor their Arab friends, since a new justice minister, most likely from a different party, will have to decide on extradition.

Rashid was indicted in the United States for the 1982 bombing of a Pan American Airways jet, in which one passenger was killed and 15 were injured.