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Achille Lauro Suspect Tries to Hang Himself

June 26, 1986|United Press International

GENOA, Italy — One of the Palestinians accused of hijacking the Achille Lauro tried to hang himself in his jail cell but was stopped by his guards, a judge said today.

"I would rather die than be humiliated," defendant Mowfak Gandura, 37, who appeared in good condition, told Judge Lino Monteverde when he got to court.

The trial of the 15 men suspected of seizing the ship in October is in its seventh day.

Another of the defendants, Youssef Molki, charged with being the leader of the four-man hijack team, protested through his attorney about "so much fuss being made of one dead American (Leon Klinghoffer) while nobody speaks of thousands of dead Palestinians."

The judge read a telegram from the director of the Novara maximum security prison saying that Gandur tried to hang himself in his jail cell late Wednesday but that guards stopped him.

Four other Arab defendants complained against what they called unhygienic conditions in jail, "numerous body searches and the practically non-existent medical care," as well as insults and physical assault by prison guards.

In all, 14 Arabs and one Greek are on trial in the hijacking--10 of them in absentia.

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