View Full Version : 1986 Pan-Am hijacker in US custody.

Cyclic Hotline
3rd Oct 2001, 00:05
Local officials say little of Safarini visit

By Sheila Toomey
Anchorage Daily News

(Published: October 2, 2001)

Local officials were mostly silent about the unannounced visit Monday morning of an accused 1986 hijacker to an Anchorage courtroom.

Zayd Hassan Safarini, was arrested by the FBI on Friday "somewhere in Asia," said Alaska Special Agent in Charge Phil Reid.

Pakistani authorities turned him over to U.S. custody Friday through the aid of a third-party intermediary, according to a U.S. law enforcement official who asked not to be identified.

Rich Curtner, head of the local federal public defender office, said he spoke with Safarini in jail Sunday and believes he arrived in Anchorage on Saturday. Curtner said his understanding is that Safarini was released from prison in Pakistan on Thursday and arrested in Thailand on Friday on his way back home to Jordan.

He had been jailed for a jetliner hijacking in which 22 people were killed.

Safarini was brought before a federal judge in Anchorage because it was the first convenient stop in the United States during his flight from Asia to Washington, D.C., to face hijacking and murder charges, Reid said. The removal hearing was just to officially inform Safarini of the charges against him and certify that he is the person named in a 126-count indictment handed down in 1991, said acting U.S. Attorney Tim Burgess.

Safarini arrived in Anchorage in a nonmilitary U.S. government aircraft and left the same way, Reid said. He would not say when or where the plane landed and took off, but drivers headed across downtown about 8:30 a.m. encountered a motorcade of SUVs with tinted windows protected by a phalanx of Anchorage police cars. Civilian motorists were required to stop and turn off their engines as the motorcade sped by, headed from the courthouse in the direction of Government Hill.

Some background information on the 1986 Pan-Am hijacking and the attempts of the other hijackers to avoid justice!.

Hijackers Go to Court in Bid to Avoid Extradition

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Five Palestinians convicted in Pakistan of a 1986 hijacking of a U.S. plane, in which 22 people were killed, have gone to court to block any attempt by the United States to extradite them, court sources said Tuesday.

The move comes after a sixth member of the group, Zayd Hassan Safarini, was transferred to the U.S. over the weekend, where he is to be charged with murder.

Two of the people killed in the hijacking of the Pan Am passenger jet in Karachi were U.S. citizens.

The five Palestinians are still being held in a jail in Islamabad despite completing their sentences for the hijacking.

Court sources said the Palestinians had sent a petition to the Lahore High Court from their jail.

President Bush (news - web sites) Monday cited Safarini's extradition as progress in his "war on terrorism'' after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Court sources quoted the five men as saying they feared they would be handed over to the FBIH because an FBI (news - web sites) team had recently visited them in jail and taken their pictures and fingerprints.

They were originally sentenced to death by a Pakistani court but their sentences were commuted to 25-year life terms which they have completed in 15 years because of remissions.

They have not been released because they were not recognized as Palestinian nationals by the Palestinian Authority (news - web sites)'s mission in Islamabad having entered Pakistan with Jordanian or Syrian passports.