[Ppnews] Japanese radical leader sentenced

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 23 08:51:45 EST 2006


Japanese radical leader sentenced

Thursday 23 February 2006 9:06 AM GMT

The founder of the leftist Japanese Red Army, once one of the world's 
most notorious radical groups, has been sentenced to 20 years in 
prison by a Tokyo court for attempted murder and masterminding a 1974 
attack on the French embassy in The Hague.

The Tokyo District Court on Thursday handed down the ruling on Fusako 
Shigenobu, 60, known as the "empress" for her leadership of the 
organisation, founded in 1971 in alliance with anti-Israeli 
Palestinian factions.

Prosecutors had demanded a life sentence for Shigenobu in connection 
with the attack on the embassy in the Dutch capital, in which the 
French ambassador was taken hostage by militants who demanded the 
release of an imprisoned comrade.

In issuing the ruling, presiding judge Hironobu Murakami said: "While 
placing absolute trust in her own cause and assertions, she tried to 
achieve her illegal goals by putting many unrelated lives and people 
in danger."

Shigenobu was arrested in late 2000 outside a hotel in Osaka, western 
Japan, after eluding police across three continents for more than 25 years.

Violent group

Shigenobu, originally a member of another leftist group, the Red Army 
Faction, travelled to Lebanon in 1971 and founded the Japanese Red 
Army, which linked up with Palestinian radicals to become an 
implacable foe of Israel.

The group turned into one of the world's most feared guerrilla 
organisations for its deadly and spectacular acts, from plane 
hijackings to hostage-taking, mostly in the 1970s.

Among its actions was a 1972 attack on Israel's Lod Airport in Tel 
Aviv in which 26 people, including two Red Army members, were killed 
in a hail of machine-gun fire and grenade blasts.

After bombing a US military facility in Naples, Italy, in 1988, the 
group conducted no more major attacks and faded from view in Japan.

The group was born out of the 1960s anti-Vietnam War movement and 
advocated the destruction of capitalism. Its members fought at home 
against the presence of US military forces in Japan, then took their 
struggle overseas in the early 1970s.

Apart from the hijackings and attacks on airports and embassies, some 
members of the group were suspected of torturing and killing a dozen 
comrades who threatened to inform on them in Japan.


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