Palestinian Sentenced For Airport Bombing
MADRID, Spain (AP) _ A Palestinian was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 47 years in prison for an airport bombing that injured 11 people last year, court sources said Tuesday.
Hassan El-Ali was acquitted of charges of belonging to an armed band and of committing terrorist acts, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A three-judge panel carried out the conviction and sentencing. There are no juries in Spain.
The prosecutor had called for 190 years in prison.
The court ruled El-Ali, 31, masterminded the June 26, 1986, attempt to blow up an El Al Israeli airliner at Madrid’s Barajas Airport. The explosion at the airline’s check-in counter caused nearly $1 million in damages.
El-Ali told the court he was a member of a splinter group of the Palestinian Liberation Organization guerrilla group Al-Fatah.
He denied talking a Spaniard of Syrian descent into carrying a suitcase loaded with explosives onto the jet.
The Spaniard, Manuel Jalafe Jalafe, was arrested shortly after the explosion. Jalafe testified that El-Ali had befriended him a few days before and persuaded him to smuggle cocaine into Israel.
El-Ali was arrested the day after the bombing and told an examining magistrate he had organized the plan. El-Ali later retracted the confession, saying he made a deposition under pressure and without an interpreter.
The examing magistrate ruled Jalafe was duped into carrying a suitcase bearing a bomb rather than the drugs he was to have smuggled. No drugs were found and no charges were filed against Jalafe.