In 1985, a group of Islamic terrorists boarded a German airliner and, brandishing weapons and explosives, hi-jacked the plane and took it to Beruit, Lebanon. On the way, they terrorized passengers, beating those they thought were Jewish. At one point, they happened upon a clean cut American named Robert Stethem. Robert probably stood out to them since he was a U.S. Navy petty officer. So the terrorists savagely beat Robert and then shot him in the head. When the plane landed in Beruit, they opened up the rear door and dumped his body on the tarmac.
In the aftermath of these crimes, the terrorists were captured and tried. The U.S. Government asked Germany to extradite them, but Germany was unwilling to do that, citing our use of the death penalty. They assured us that the men responsible would serve life in prison.
A few days ago, we learned what “life in prison” means in Germany: about 19 years. The German government has recently admitted that it has released Mohammed Ali Hamadi, the man found responsible for killing Petty Officer Stethem. He received credit for time served and good behavior and was released early. Hamadi is now on his way, and has probably already arrived, back home in Beruit. Stethem (just in case you aren’t paying attention) is still dead.
Oh, and here’s a totally unrelated story: On December 18, some terrorists in Iraq released a German hostage named Susan Osthoff, an arabic-speaking archeologist. Osthoff was kidnapped in northern Iraq in November, 2005. A German Foreign Ministry spokesman denied the two cases were linked.