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