Germany to release assassins who worked for Tehran
Germany is soon to release two assassins who were convicted of shooting opponents of Tehran in a Berlin restaurant 15 years ago, prosecutors said.
09 December 2007
Karlsruhe, Germany (dpa) - Germany is soon to release two assassins who were convicted of shooting opponents of Tehran in a Berlin restaurant 15 years ago, prosecutors said Saturday.
Kazem Darabi, an Iranian, and Abbas Rhayel, a Lebanese national, were sentenced in 1997 to life imprisonment for the four murders.
A newspaper, Die Welt, said they would be paroled and deported on Saturday, but a spokeswoman for Ehrhart Koerting, interior minister of Berlin state, said, "The deportation of the two is not taking place today."
She declined to say when the date was. Federal prosecutors in the southern justice capital, Karlsruhe, announced the parole two months ago and later said the duo would be paroled by December 24.
The court that convicted them said they were leaders of a gang set up by the Iranian Islamist authorities to kill the leaders of the opposition Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran while they were dining at a small Greek-cuisine eatery, the Mykonos, in September 1992.
It found the assassinations were ordered by a "commission for special affairs" comprising top figures of the Iranian regime. The other two members of the murder gang to be convicted in Germany were deported in 1999 to Lebanon.
Over the years it has repeatedly been suggested that Berlin might swap them with Iran to obtain the release of Germans, but the federal government always insisted their punishment was not negotiable.
The German Foreign Ministry said Saturday there had been no accord with Iran involving the men.
Israel appealed to Berlin in October to keep holding Darabi when Iran or its Lebanese associate Hezbollah explains that became of captured Israeli airman Ron Arad after his jet crashed and he was captured in Lebanon in 1986.
Arad relations vainly tried in October to persuade the German prosecutors to change their minds.
Germany commonly paroles life prisoners after a total 15 years in pre-trial and penitential custody.
Subject: German news