Hijacker of Yemeni Plane Jailed for 15 Years
A Yemeni plane hijacker was sentenced to fifteen years in prison on Saturday for diverting a domestic flight with the US ambassador to Sanaa on board, reported AFP.
A Sanaa court also ordered Jaber Ali Sattar to pay compensation to the airline Yemenia for the January 23 hijacking which wound up in Djibouti, although the amount was not specified, said the agency.
Sattar had demanded that the plane with 91 passengers on board, including US Ambassador, Barbara Bodine, be flown to Baghdad.
The 30-year-old unemployed Sattar said during the trial he had no political motives for trying to divert the Boeing 727, and that he was only looking for fame.
He called it a "desperate act of a man who had just lost his livelihood in Saudi Arabia."
He stood accused of "hijacking, illegal carrying of arms, terrorism and forging documents." The prosecution had asked for the death sentence.
The pilot convinced Sattar that the plane needed to refuel in Djibouti, and the crew overpowered the hijacker once the airliner landed and all the passengers fled the plane.
Sattar's lawyer told the court that the hijacker, who was extradited from Djibouti, had no idea Bodine was on board, and that a shot he fired during the incident went off by accident, according to the agency.
The investigation focused on how Sattar managed to board the plane armed with a pen-pistol.
In addition to Bodine, the passengers included US military and political attaches at the Sana'a Embassy and a protocol official from the office of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The officials were due to meet Saleh in Taiz -- Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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