Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Senator Mikulski Responds

CONTACT: Melissa Schwartz

Mikulski Urges Sec. Rice to Honor Slain Maryland Serviceman, Extradite Convicted Killer

“We must make clear to Lebanon that it will not benefit from U.S. assistance and support as long as it harbors this brutal terrorist and murderer.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) today urged Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to take immediate action and formally request that the Government of Lebanon arrest and extradite convicted killer Mohammed Ali Hamadi to the United States. Hamadi was serving a life sentence in Germany for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner and killing of U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem, 23, of Waldorf, Md. He was paroled after 19 years in December 2005, and is known to be hiding in Lebanon.

TWA flight 847 from Athens, Greece, to Rome was hijacked to Beirut, Lebanon, where hijackers beat, shot and killed Petty Officer Stethem and dumped his body on the tarmac. He was the only casualty during the hijacking ordeal, in which 39 Americans were held hostage for 17 days.

The text of the letter from Senator Mikulski is provided below:

January 10, 2006

The Honorable Condoleeza Rice
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

We are writing to urge you to formally request that the Government of Lebanon immediately arrest and extradite to the United States Mohammed Ali Hamadi, the cold-blooded murderer and terrorist who has sought refuge in Lebanon since being released from German custody last month. As you know, Hamadi brutally murdered a United States Navy diver, Robert Dean Stethem. Petty Officer Stethem was 23 years old and from Waldorf, MD. He was killed solely because he was an American serviceman.

Hamadi and his fellow terrorists bound, gagged, beat unconscious, and then shot Petty Officer Stethem in the head when they hijacked a jetliner traveling to Rome in 1985. The terrorists dumped Petty Officer Stethem’s dead body out of the plane onto the Beirut tarmac, proving the utter indifference for life that is the hallmark of such despicable people. In 1989, Hamadi was convicted of murder and sentenced by German authorities to a prison term that ended last month. The German government ignored repeated requests by the United States to turn Hamadi over for prosecution and released him instead to his native Lebanon.

We ask that you exert the strongest possible diplomatic and political pressure on the Government of Lebanon to secure Hamadi’s handover to U.S. custody. The families of our servicemen always hear that “a grateful nation never forgets.” We need to make sure these are more than just words. The current administration has rightly taken a strong stand against those nations who provide safe haven for terrorists. We must now make clear to Lebanon that it will not benefit from U.S. assistance and support as long as it harbors this brutal terrorist and murderer.

Petty Office Stethem was killed because he was a United States serviceman. As United States Senators, we are grateful for his service and want to see justice done.

Thank you for your prompt, personal attention to this issue.


Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

Jim DeMint
United States Senator