ATHENS (Sep. 18)
The Greek government apparently has decided not to extradite suspected Palestinian terrorist Mohammed Rashid, wanted in the United States for bombing a Hawaii-bound Pan Am airliner in 1982, in which a Japanese teen-age passenger was killed and 15 others injured.
Instead, he probably will be tried in Greece, although no final decision has been taken, government spokesman Byron Polydoras said Monday.
He noted that the Greek Parliament passed legislation enabling Greek courts to try suspects of special offenses.
Rashid’s lawyer, Spyros Fitrakis, said Justice Minister Athanassios Kanellopoulos has already informed his client he will be extradited but tried here.
According to Fitrakis, Greek authorities have begun questioning Rashid about the airplane bombing preliminary to putting him on trial.
Washington has pressed for his extradition, warning that U.S.-Greek relations could suffer otherwise.
Although the Greek Supreme Court has ordered extradition, the final decision rests with the justice minister. So far none has complied, either under the present conservative regime or the Socialist government that preceded it.
Rashid was arrested at Athens airport in May 1988 and convicted of carrying a forged Syrian passport. His arrest was due to a tip from U.S. intelligence. He served two jail terms here, one for attempted escape and possession of a concealed weapon.