At a time of world indignation against latest Arab guerilla hijackings, eight young Czechoslovaks today (Thursday) went on trial in West Germany accused of seizing an airliner at gunpoint last June.
MV Police officer unpacks exhibits of arms (2 shots)
MV Police officers
CU Arms on table.
LV Judges entering courthouse.
CU Accused girl.
MV Other accused enter court.
MV Accused seated (3 shots)
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Background: At a time of world indignation against latest Arab guerilla hijackings, eight young Czechoslovaks today (Thursday) went on trial in West Germany accused of seizing an airliner at gunpoint last June. The eight are said to have hijacked a domestic flight from Karlovy Vary to Prague, forcing it to fly to Nuremburg.
During today's opening session, 25-year-old Czechoslovak lorry driver Rudolf Cihac said that he and his companies were prepared to commit suicide if their flight to the West had not been successful.
Cihac said fear of arrest for anti-Soviet activities during the Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia was his main reason for wanting to flee the country. He escaped with his 22-year-old wife Stanislva and two-year-old daughter -- but had to abandon his one-year-old son who was ill in hospital.
The other six defendants in the case, three men and three women, are all aged between 18 and 23. Their trial -- held in the Nuremburg courtroom used for Nazi war crime trials -- is expected to set a precedent in West German law.
The court was told that the defendants had made a pact not to shoot in the aircraft. All eight have sought political asylum in West Germany, claiming that they were dissatisfied with the political climate in Czechoslovakia after the Warsaw Pact intervention of 1968.