German authorities have paroled Mohammed Ali Hamadi after he served 19 years of a life sentence for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner and the killing of a US Navy diver.
Hamadi has been released from prison and has left Germany, said Doris Moeller-Scheu, a spokeswoman for the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office. She said she did not know his destination.
She said Hamadi’s case came up for a regular legally mandated review by a parole court and he was released after an expert assessment and a hearing.
TWA flight 847 from Athens to Rome was hijacked to Beirut, where the hijackers shot US Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem, 23, of Waldorf, Maryland, and dumped his body on the tarmac.
German federal officials declined to comment extensively and said the case was a matter for state authorities. Justice Ministry spokeswoman Eva Schmierer said Germany did not have any request from the United States for Hamadi’s extradition.
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Martin Jaeger, said there was no connection between his release and that of Susanne Osthoff, a German woman released at the weekend after spending more than three weeks as a hostage in Iraq.
Stethem, 23, was beaten and shot on June 15, 1985, while the plane was in Beirut. He was the only casualty during the hijacking ordeal, in which 39 Americans were held hostage for 17 days. He received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart decorations, and a US Navy guided missile destroyer is named in his honour.
Hamadi was arrested at Frankfurt Airport on January 13, 1987, when customs officials discovered liquid explosives in his luggage.
US authorities had requested his extradition so he could stand trial in the United States, but the Germans, who have no death penalty, insisted on prosecuting Hamadi.