A District Court in Tel Aviv on Sunday (26 August) charged Mohammed Ahmed Altoumi, 38, with piracy, endangering the lives of passengers on board an aircraft, and illegal possession of arms.
A District Court in Tel Aviv on Sunday (26 August) charged Mohammed Ahmed Altoumi, 38, with piracy, endangering the lives of passengers on board an aircraft, and illegal possession of arms. Altoumi forced the pilot of a Lebanese Boeing 707, flying from Benghazi, Libya, to Beirut, Lebanon, to go to Tel Aviv. he reportedly had two pistols and a quantity of ammunition.
District Court Judge Max kennett ruled that he should undergo psychiatric examination before standing trial. The judge refused Altoumi's application for bail, which a spectator in the court offered to put up. Mr. Eliyahu Sa's-don, a Syrian Jew, also offered the accused the hospitality of his home.
One of Israeli's leading criminal lawyers, Mr. Yitzhak Aderedt, was appointed to defend Althoumi, who faces a life sentence on two of three counts in the indictment.
The Prosecutor, Mrs. victoria Ostrovsky-Cohen, said that although offences against Altoumi, except for the illegal possession of arms, were committed outside Israel, the court was competent to try him. It was reported from Beirut that the Lebanese government had dropped its plan to seek Altoumi's extradition. In Libya, Altoumi's mother described her son as unbalanced.
During the brief courtroom proceedings, Altoumi, speaking through an interpreter, told the judge that continued detention could affect his mental balance. He said that for many years he had an impulse to come to Israel, but complained, "if I am kept in solitary confinement, cut off from the outside world...the arrest is a heavy blow to me."