TEL AVIV (Dec. 25)
Two Germans convicted of terrorist activities in 1979 were repatriated Tuesday before completing half of their nominal. 10-year sentences. Their early release was arranged in conversations between Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and West German officials during Shamir’s recent visit to Europe, Foreign Ministry circles said yesterday.
Thomas Reuter and Brigitte Schultz, both 30, were brought to Israel and tried secretly, together with three Arabs, in 1976. Sentences on the two Germans, members of a German terrorist group affiliated to the Bader-Meinhoff group, were handed down only at the end of 1979. Even then, news of the trial was kept secret in Israel, until details were published abroad.
According to reports from abroad, they were implicated in a plot to shoot down on El AI plane in Nairobi, Kenya in January 1976. The plot was failed and the three Arabs due to have carried out the actual attack with Soviet-made shoulder-fired rockets were stopped at the airport before the El Al plane landed. They are now serving 18-year sentences in Israel.
Part of the secrecy surrounding the trial of all five is understood to have been at the request of the Kenyan authorities who cooperated in their detention and handed them over to the Israelis for trial in Israel.
Their release was among the demands put forward by terrorists who hijacked on Air France plane to Entebbe in 1976 from where the hostages were released in the famous Israeli rescue mission. The hostages said after their release their guards at Entebbe had included West Germans.
Schultz and Reuter were sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the term was halved under on agreement between the prosecution and defense whereby their time in prison would be cut to five years in return for written confessions.