ATHENS (Jan. 8)
A Greek court has sentenced a Palestinian terrorist to 18 years for the July 1982 bombing of a Pan Am jet, in which a Japanese teen-ager was killed.
Mohammed Rashid, 42, was found guilty and sentenced Wednesday, following a three-month trial, which for security reasons took place at the Koridallos prison. A prison ward was transformed into a courtroom for the purpose.
Rashid is the first Palestinian terrorist sentenced by a Greek court, and puts an end to an era in which Greece, under the previous Socialist government, regarded Palestinian terrorists as freedom fighters and allowed them to quietly leave the country. The current conservative government of Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis promised it would try Rashid and came through on its word.
Rashid was arrested in Greece on May 30, 1988, after the Americans tipped off the Greek authorities, to the chagrin of the Socialist government of Andreas Papandreou.
Rashid entered Greece on a false passport, for which he was sentenced to seven months in jail. During that period, the Americans asked for his extradition, as the man who had placed a bomb on a Pan Am flight from Tokyo to Hawaii.
The court relied on the testimony of Adnan Awad, a Palestinian and former member of the Syrian-backed terrorist group A-Saiqa.
Awad, whose account about Rashid is given in the book “Terrorist” by Steven Emerson and Cristina del Sesto, gave himself, and a bomb, up to disbelieving Swiss authorities in September 1982, after he, too, was instructed by terrorist leader Abu Ibrahim to bomb a plane.
Awad later moved to the United States, where he cooperated with U.S. officials under the Federal Witness Protection Program. His credentials were ascertained by Emerson, a special assignments reporter for the Cable News Network.
According to Awad’s account, as told to Emerson, the United States did not want to hear the accounts of Iraqi-sanctioned terrorism.
The technical details on the bombs made by the Baghdad-based Abu Ibrahim were described by Awad and verified by FBI explosives expert Denny Kline and Billy Vincent, a former specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Abu Ibrahim builds barometric bombs like those that blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988, and a UTA French airliner over Niger in April 1989.