April 16, 2003


Palestinian Authority Demands U.S. Free Abu Abbas (Reuters, April 16, 2003)
The Palestinian Authority demanded the release of veteran Palestinian guerrilla leader Abu Abbas on Wednesday, saying his detention in Iraq by U.S. forces violated an interim Middle East peace deal.

"We demand the United States release Abu Abbas. It has no right to imprison him," Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat told Reuters.

"The Palestinian-Israeli interim agreement signed on September 28, 1995 stated that members of the Palestine Liberation Organization must not be detained or tried for matters they committed before the Oslo peace accord of September 13, 1993," he said.

"This interim agreement was signed on the U.S. side by President Clinton and his secretary of state, Warren Christopher," Erekat added. There was no immediate Israeli comment on Abbas' arrest by U.S. special forces.

Abbas masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in the Mediterranean.

Abu Abbas is the head of the Palestine Liberation Front, and is responsible, among his many crimes, for the murder of Leon Klinghoffer aboard the hijacked Achille Lauro. The idea that the Oslo accords can bind us to turn over terrorists but do not bar the Palestinians from an extensive terror campaign is ridiculous. Any legal effects of the accords were long ago rendered null and void by the PLO's own actions.
Posted by Orrin Judd at April 16, 2003 8:19 AM

"U.S. authorities allowed an arrest warrant for Abbas in connection with the Achille Lauro case to expire after his Italian conviction."

I don't see how this presents any problem for US authorities. During the Clinton administration, the farce was presented by that administration that the statute of limitations had run out on Abu Abbas as an excuse for inaction.

"But a 1996 study by the Congressional Research Service found that, in fact, the statute of limitations has not expired, because the statute is suspended when the suspect is a fugitive from justice. The CRS, which is the official and authoritative research division of the U.S. Congress, examined the Abbas issue and compiled a detailed 14-page report on September 9, 1996. On the question of the statute of limitations, the report concluded (p.7):

It would appear that section 3290 [of the U.S. Criminal Code] would operate to toll [suspend the expiration of] the statute of limitations in Abbas' case." 1

1. http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1967to1991_achille_lauro.php

Posted by: Mike at April 16, 2003 9:09 AM

Bleep all that. Let's get what we need out of him, then, when he tries to escape, unload an Uzi on him.

Yes, I know where Uzis are made. That's the point.

Posted by: Chris at April 16, 2003 9:34 AM

another result of Clinton's legacy. Hopefully Bush won't give him (since they try to play by the rules) but if he does he should make clear it was due to Clinton's actions.

Posted by: AWW at April 16, 2003 9:34 AM

Bring him back to the USA, give him a show trial and then execute him; preferably in a wheelchair off the deck of a USN carrier or airdropped.

Posted by: Genecis at April 16, 2003 11:17 AM

Reagan let him go first. Plenty of blame to go


Hard to imagine any politician, even the wackiest

leftist, objecting to keeping him.

Turning him over to the Italians to serve out

his life term might be OK, except they're Italians.

I wouldn't trust them to keep him.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 16, 2003 6:26 PM