Patterns of Global Terrorism 1997 - Germany

PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, in an ongoing effort to encourage the German Government to lift its four-year-old ban on his organization, reiterated his 1996 public promise to forbid PKK-instigated acts of violence on German soil. Indeed, acts of terrorist violence attributable to the PKK in Germany for the year declined significantly and PKK demonstrations were peaceful. The PKK actively engaged, however, in criminal activities, principally extortion, recruitment, and aggravated assault. (In January 1998 the German Federal prosecutor announced that the PKK would no longer be considered a terrorist organization. However, the German Interior Minister stated that the PKK remains a banned criminal organization in Germany and that German authorities will continue to work on PKK prosecutions.)

German prosecutors indicted the former PKK European spokesman, Kani Yilmaz (a.k.a. Faisal Dunlayiei), charging him with being one of the leaders of a terrorist organization and indirectly participating in two series of arson attacks on Turkish establishments in Germany in June and November 1993. (In February 1998 he was convicted and sentenced to seven and a half years. He was released on parole, however, because he had already served more than half of his sentence in pretrial detention in the United Kingdom and Germany.)

An important terrorism trial in Berlin concluded in April 1997. The Mykonos trial involved five defendants – an Iranian and four Lebanese – suspected in the 1992 killing of Iranian Kurdish dissidents, one of whom was then Secretary General of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), in Berlin's Mykonos restaurant. A German judge found the Iranian and three of the Lebanese guilty of the murders. Two defendants, Kazem Darabi and Abbas Rhayel, were sentenced to life in prison. Two others, Youssef Amin and Muhammad Atris, received sentences of 11 years and five years and three months, respectively. The fifth defendant, Ataollah Ayad, was acquitted. The court stated that the Government of Iran had followed a deliberate policy of liquidating the regime's opponents who lived outside Iran, including the opposition KDPI. The judge further stated that the Mykonos murders had been approved at the most senior levels of the Iranian Government by an extra-legal committee whose members included the Minister of Intelligence and Security, the Foreign Minister, the President, and the Supreme Leader. In March 1996 a German court had issued an arrest warrant in this case for Ali Fallahian, the former Iranian Minister of Intelligence and Security.

Germany in November 1997 began the trial of five defendants in the 1986 La Belle discotheque bombing in Berlin, which killed three persons, including two US servicemen, and wounded more than 200, many of them seriously. Both Italy and Greece arrested suspects in the case during 1997 and extradited them to Germany for trial. In his opening remarks, the German prosecutor said the bombing was "definitely an act of assassination commissioned by the Libyan state." German authorities have issued warrants for four Libyan officials for their role in the case. The four are believed to be in Libya.


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