WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a new indictment against five men accused of air piracy and murder for their roles in a 1986 hijacking in which 22 people, including two Americans, were killed.
The new indictment spells out the "aggravating circumstances" that permit prosecutors to seek the death penalty under the federal death penalty act.
The 95-count indictment alleges that Zayd Hassan Abd Latif Safarini, a Jordanian extradited to the United States from Pakistan last year to face charges, was the ringleader in the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi.
Safarini has been identified as a one-time member of the Abu Nidal Palestinian guerrilla group. The United States hailed his extradition last October as progress in the war on terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks.
He is the only one of the five in U.S. custody.
The other four named in the indictment are Wadoud Muhammad Hafiz Al-Turk, Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim, Muhammad Abdullah Khalil Hussain Ar-Rahayyal and Muhammad Ahmed Al-Munawar. Their whereabouts were not specified.
Safarini pleaded not guilty last year to the charges accusing him of taking over the airplane on the ground in Karachi, Pakistan, while it was loading for a flight to Frankfurt en route to New York.