Italy frees man in 1985 ship hijacking
ROME - One of the Palestinians who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship and killed an American passenger in 1985 has been released after more than 23 years in jail, officials said yesterday.
Youssef Magied al-Molqui left prison in Palermo, Sicily, on Wednesday and was transferred to a holding center for immigrants in nearby Trapani while officials work to expel him, police in the Sicilian capital said.
Molqui, a member of the four-man team that hijacked the Achille Lauro off the Egyptian coast, had been serving a 30-year sentence, which was reduced for good behavior.
He was convicted of shooting elderly Leon Klinghoffer of New York and ordering him to be dumped in the sea while in his wheelchair.
Klinghoffer's daughters and the Anti-Defamation League condemned Molqui's early release.
"We are outraged at the news of the release of Youssef Magied Al-Molqui for good behavior. He is the terrorist who was responsible for actually shooting our father, Leon Klinghoffer, in cold blood, in his wheelchair," daughters Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer said in a statement.
"We were furious with the Italian court's short sentencing at the time, and we are outraged to now learn that he will be leaving prison early for 'good behavior.' There should be no good behavior clause for terrorist murderers," the statement said. "This is a travesty."
Italy customarily reduces inmates' sentences, often by several years, for model behavior in prison. The Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League is dedicated to educating the world about the deadly realities of terrorism, working to combat the threat of terrorism through educational, political, and legal means.