Conviction of Syrian Arms Dealer Brings Measure of Justice to Klinghoffer Family
Update: On February 24, 2009, a federal judge in Manhattan sentenced the notorious arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar to 30 years in prison for conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to Colombian militants. Authorities said the sentence means that the Syrian native will most likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
New York, NY, November 20, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the conviction of a notorious Syrian-born arms dealer who has a long history of selling weapons and military equipment to armed factions engaged in violent conflicts around the world, including the Palestinian Liberation Front.
A Manhattan jury convicted Monzer al-Kassar and a co-defendant on multiple charges of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to Colombian militants. In 1992, Kassar was charged with providing arms to the PLF for the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, during which terrorists murdered Leon Klinghoffer in his wheelchair and threw him overboard. Kassar was acquitted of those charges after a three-year trial ended in 1995.
"We are gratified that justice has finally caught up with Monzer al-Kassar," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The Klinghoffer family has waited far too long to see anyone involved in the horrific killing of their father brought to justice. This is a great day for them, and for all those who have suffered as a result of Kassar's long reign of terror."
Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer of New York, the daughters of Leon Klinghoffer, were in court this morning as the guilty verdicts were read. They are the founders of the ADL Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation and longtime spokeswoman against terrorism.
"We commend the Justice Department for its efforts to extradite and prosecute Kassar and hold him accountable for supplying weapons and military equipment to terrorist organizations such as the FARC and the Palestinian Liberation Front," said Lisa Klinghoffer. "It is unfortunate, however, that Kassar has managed to evade conviction on charges related to his involvement in the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by the PLF and mastermind Abu Abbas, and the murder of our father, Leon Klinghoffer."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.