The Palestine Liberation Organisation -- anxious not to lose sympathy after recent diplomatic success -- on Wednesday (27 November) announced the arrest and show trial of 26 people suspected of involvement in the hi-jacking of a British Airways VC-10 jet at Dubai.
SCU Al-Hout surrounded by newsmen
SCU's Poster and newsmen at conference (5 shots)
GV Al-Hout seated speaking
SV Al-Hout speaks
AL-HOUT: "Ever since the operation was done, and denounced by the P.L.O. leadership, orders were issued to our men to start investigating and holding very possible suspect. There are around twenty six people now under our custody and they are under investigation. I'm sure our people are tracing all those whom we think might be related to this operation all around the Arab countries."
Initials BB/0307 BL/DW/BB/0313
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Palestine Liberation Organisation -- anxious not to lose sympathy after recent diplomatic success -- on Wednesday (27 November) announced the arrest and show trial of 26 people suspected of involvement in the hi-jacking of a British Airways VC-10 jet at Dubai.
Hi-jacking and hostage-taking -- once hailed by the Palestinians as heroic acts necessary to regain their rights -- are now regarded as treason by the P.L.O. leadership.
The Director of the P.L.O. office in Beirut, Mr. Shafik Al-Hout told a news conference he thought the P.L.O. would put the 26 on trial in public "so everybody will see that the P.L.O. has passed the punishment seen necessary against them."
Mr. Al-Hout explained how the suspects were rounded up.
Mr. Hout said the P.L.O. -- overall authority of the mail guerrilla groups -- would do its utmost in future to half hi-jacking operations. But be cautioned; "We are no a state, and if we become a state, it is not good for us to begin by setting up a prison".
The P.L.O. has been demanding the surrender of the four rebel gunmen who hi-jacked the VC-10 airliner from Dubai to Tunis and killed one of their 43 hostages. The four men are now in custody in Tunisia, with very few friends in the Arab world.