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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 April, 2003, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Abu Abbas: Should he be put on trial?
Abu Abbas
Italy is seeking to extradite the Palestinian militant Abu Abbas who was captured by coalition forces in Baghdad this week.

Abbas was behind the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 and was sentenced in absentia to five life terms by an Italian court.

The Palestinian Authority has called for his immediate release, referring to 1995 peace accords that include an amnesty for Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) officials.

However, according to a US State Department official the clause deals only with the detention and prosecution of certain individuals within the jurisdiction of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Should Abu Abbas go on trial? If so, should it be in the United States or Italy? Tell us what you think.

Making concessions to the blackmail of terrorists is always a mistake. By prosecuting Abbas, a message will go out to terrorists that if they do get a "deal" in the future, governments will not feel obligated to honour it.
Mark, USA

He should be prosecuted by the USA
Harun Mwimuto, Kikuyu,Kenya
This man is a terrorist, and the humanity should be grateful for the good work the British and US forces are doing. Instead of sending him to Italy he should be prosecuted by the USA because he was caught in a territory at war with the USA.
Harun Mwimuto, Kikuyu,Kenya

He should not be turned over to Italy-they had him and let him go. It was an American he killed so he should be tried in an American court!
bob h, usa

He should be turned over to the Italians. They convicted him in absentia; therefore he should spend the rest of his days in a prison in Italy.
Krista, USA

He should be put on trial. A terrorist is a terrorist no matter what kind of agreement is made.
Dave, U.S.A

No, no and no again. He killed one American in a war against the Israeli occupation of his country. Let's have justice for the victims of Sabra and Shatilla.
Dave Llewellyn, Belgium

As my life wears on, I become increasingly disillusioned with society's inability to distinguish between right and wrong. Trial is irrelevant, he has already been sentenced in absentia, send him to Italy. If he avoids serving his sentence, the mockery of world justice will follow the UN, down the path of irrelevancy.
Gordon, UK

Of course he should go to try. No one should be above the law, be it Abu Abbas of Ariel Sharon. What better time to show that no one is beyond law. I am sure there is a very strong case that can be filed against Sharon too. Does the west have the courage to do that? I think not.
Ubaid, USA

If treaties are not going to be respected parties in conflict will be wary about signing them
John, USA
Providing amnesty for past crimes and atrocities is common when parties in a conflict sit down to resolve their differences. A rebel group will feel confident making peace if they know they cannot be tried or imprisoned for past crimes. If treaties are not going to be respected parties in conflict will be wary about signing them.

This could prolong or make impossible a resolution causing more death and misery. Anyone who supports breaking treaties for any reason is very short sighted. They play a very valuable role in ending conflicts.
John, USA

It's up to Italy to decide. Still, I anticipate the US to breach to take part in the process. They feel quite concerned with everything nowadays.
Denault, Canada

All though I feel sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians I feel this man is just a cold blooded killer who should be tried. Nothing political about that.
Thea Berg, Netherlands

Yes, all those who kill civilians in cold blood should never get an amnesty because of time, status or nationality, and that includes Mr Sharon.
Hany Ragy, Egypt

No, Abbas should not be prosecuted. Under the Oslo agreements which the USA also signed, Abbas has immunity for all crimes committed previous to that date. Even the Israeli Supreme Court says so. If America decides to try him, they'll breaching an international treaty which they have pledged to uphold. This doesn't mean that Abbas should go free. He was convicted by Italy long before the Oslo agreements so just hand him over to Rome so he can sit out his sentence in an Italian prison.
Frederik, Belgium

Good grief, of course he HAS to. He's murdered and been involved in terrorism. The Oslo accords aren't going stop him from taking another life!! It should not even be a question whether to try a murderer, or not. What kind of a world are we living in when it's a debate over taking a criminal to court?
Tammie, USA

I wonder what are America's sudden interests in trying him
Fadi, Canada
It's said Abu Abbas visited the West Bank and Gaza many times in co-ordination with the Americans and the Israelis. Moreoever, a peace accord between the Palestinians and the Israelis specifies that PLO members could not be tried for acts of violence committed before 1993. I wonder what are the true intentions behind America's sudden interests in trying him.
Fadi, Canada

Are people forgetting Mr Klinghoffer, the innocent victim of this proven terrorist and killer? His daughters have been trying to attain justice for 18 long years. The defence of this killer is scary. Who can respect a 'treaty' that allows a murderer to go free?
Daniel, USA

Yes absolutely. He was responsible for the death of an innocent man. Even though he was granted amnesty by the Israeli government after the Oslo accord, the Italian government has the right to apply its court sentence on him, since the crime was committed on an Italian vessel and not on Israeli territory.
Soha, Egyptian in Kuwait

I hope the US remembers the peace accords between Israel and Palestine and also remembers that it still has to mediate the peace process between them. The US should also remember that it refused to be a party to the International Criminal Court and yet it still wants to be the world's policeman. Remember USA - the rest is up to you.
Tubibaze Byoona, Uganda

He shouldn't go on trial as it is in violation of the Oslo peace accord. He has been uninvolved in terrorism for years and poses no threat. His trial and prison sentence would be a waste of resources and money.
Ian, USA

Of course he should go to trial and in my opinion it should be in the US. How can any rational person not want to see him face trial for shooting a helpless man in a wheelchair.
Jim Riphahn, USA

He should now serve his term in prison according to his conviction, in the country where he was convicted
Clive Jobson, Germany
Abu Abbas shouldn't go on trial. He has already been convicted in absentia. At the time of his trial he had the possibility of attending and defending himself. He should now serve his term in prison according to his conviction, in the country where he was convicted. Isn't that what the law is there for? Why the question?
Clive Jobson, Germany

It doesn't matter what they do with Abbas. Until the Palestinian and Israeli crisis is solved, there will be a flow of blood of innocent lives on both sides. Since the Iraq war is almost over, it is crucial for the coalition to use force diplomatically and to make the two parties come to an agreement. We should use both a carrot and a stick to both the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Krishna, USA

He certainly should not be put on trial in Italy. He's already been found guilty and sentenced to five life terms there. Why try him again? The real question is whether the US should keep him and try him or simply turn him over to Italy. Either way he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Howard Immanuelson, USA

Once again the United States goes against international law, this time an agreement between the Palestinian and Israeli government. First the Iraq war, illegal, then agreements between states. Then it gets into a verbal assault on Syria in spite of the fact that Syria has no Security Council resolutions against it. Meanwhile the world sits back and accepts this, while the Arab government sell their souls even more down the river.
Karim Rizk, Canada

The US should put him on trial for the death of an American
John, USA
Yes he should stand trial. The man is a criminal and has not paid for his crime. This man should be held accountable for his actions. The Italian Government let him go and now the US should put him on trial for the death of an American.
John, USA

The US should not disavow the amnesty agreement previously signed by President Clinton. We have repudiated and broken far too many treaties. If we continue on this path, who will ever trust our word in the world?

Since Saddam is nowhere to be found for a trial, Abu Abbas will do.
James, Sydney, Australia

A man and his crew of thugs hijack a cruise ship, terrorize the passengers, murder a disabled man, and throw him overboard in his wheelchair. Of course he should be put on trial!! What possible argument can be made to the contrary? That Mr Abbas is a "freedom fighter"? That he is protected by the Oslo accords? This is all nonsense put forth by those who continue to defend the concept of terrorism as a legitimate form of political expression.
John C, New York, USA

Let's ask Mr Bush, who seems to be running the whole world.
Abdul Wajid, USA

US rules out immunity for Abbas
16 Apr 03  |  Middle East

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