ADL OUTRAGED KLINGHOFFER MURDERER PERMITTED TO DISAPPEAR,
CONTACTS ITALIAN AND U.S. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
New York, NY, March 4, 1996...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
today expressed outrage that a terrorist convicted of murdering Leon Klinghoffer
aboard the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 has disappeared from the prison
in Italy where he was serving his 30 year sentence. According to news reports,
Youssef al Molqi left the Rebibbia prison in Rome on February 16 on a twelve-day
furlough, and has not returned.
In a letter to Italian Ambassador to the United States Ferdinando Salleo,
Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, daughters of Leon Klinghoffer, and Abraham H.
Foxman, ADL National Director, expressed their outrage at Mr. Molqi's disappearance,
saying, "Italy's record carrying out the sentences of the terrorists
convicted of hijacking the Achille Lauro and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer
is abysmal. Bassam al-Asker, one of the hijackers, was granted parole in
1991. Ahmad Marrouf al-Assadi, another accomplice, disappeared in 1991
while on parole. Four others, including the mastermind, Abu Abbas, were
convicted in absentia and remain at large."
They called on the Government of Italy to "make it clear that terrorists
will be treated strictly, and their sentences applied with the full force
of the law. We urge the Government of Italy to immediately apprehend Mr.
Molqi and to ensure that he remains in prison to serve out his term."
The Klinghoffers and Mr. Foxman also wrote U.S. Secretary of State Warren
Christopher, asking him to "communicate to the Government of Italy
that the United States is gravely concerned that a terrorist murderer of
an American citizen has been treated in such a negligently careless fashion
and permitted to walk free."
In 1985, Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro and brutally
murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American Jew. In July 1986
an Italian jury convicted 11 men in the terrorist attack; Mr. Molqi was
convicted of shooting Mr. Klinghoffer and ordering his body thrown overboard.
The ADL Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation combats terrorism
through educational, political and legal means. The Foundation was founded
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.