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Government turns down Hariri appeal

Convicted hijacker Hussein Ali Hariri is likely to stay in a Swiss prison till at least 2004 after the Swiss House of Representatives and Senate turned down a clemency appeal from Hariri on Tuesday.

This content was published on December 21, 1999 - 11:28

Convicted hijacker Hussein Ali Hariri is likely to stay in a Swiss prison till at least 2004 after the Swiss House of Representatives and Senate turned down a clemency appeal from Hariri on Tuesday.

Sitting in joint session, parliamentarians rejected the appeal by 131 to 78 votes.

Hariri was convicted in 1988 and given a life sentence by the Federal Court in Lausanne for hijacking an airliner flying from Africa to Geneva.

The Lebanese had been sent by pro-Iranian Hizbollah groups, which wanted to lever out various alleged terrorists in detention in European jails.

What tipped the scales against the then 21-year-old Hariri before the Swiss court was that he shot and killed a passenger in cold blood while the plane was on the ground in Geneva. The plane was later stormed by special forces and Hariri was captured.

He was given a life sentence, a rarity in Switzerland, because of his youth and callousness.

A minority in the Swiss parliament supported the clemency plea, which would have cut the sentence to 18 years, saying the now 33-year-old Lebanese had changed character in jail.

However, a majority of parliamentarians said Hariri had twice been involved in jail breaks and had twice set his cell on fire.

The next clemency review can take place in five years’ time.

From staff and wire reports.

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