BEIRUT, July 31 -- A Lebanese court sentenced five Japanese Red Army suspects to three years in prison for illegal entry and residence in Lebanon. Beirut Criminal Court judge Suheil Abdel Samad also ordered today their deportation from Lebanon after they complete their sentences and fined three of them $395 each.
The five were not in court for the sentencing. They remained in Roumieh prison in east Beirut. They include 49-year-old Kozo Okamoto, the only surviving assailant of the 1972 attack at Israel's Lod airport in which 24 people were killed. Okamoto was held for 13 years in an Israeli jail before being released in a swap with a Palestinian group in 1985. The others are 48-year-old Haruo Wako, 44-year-old Kezuo Tohira, 57- year-old Masao Adachi and 56-year-old Mariko Yamamoto. They had also been charged with holding forged passports, illegal possession of official Lebanese and foreign government stamps and visas. No charges were made against them for belonging to the extremist Red Army group. The court acquitted a Lebanese woman, Omayya Abboud, who stood trial with them on charges of practising medicine illegally. Abboud, who trained in Japan as a physiotherapist, had treated the Japanese at her clinic in eastern Lebanon. They were arrested in Beirut in February along three other Japanese, who were later released and deported to Japan. The five admitted during trial that they used forged travel documents to hide their political identity. Defense lawyers had asked that they be granted political asylum on the grounds that they supported Palestinian and Arab causes against Israel. Japan has requested their extradition although there is no extradition treaty between Japan and Lebanon. ---
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