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The Nation

The jury in the Fawaz Younis sky piracy trial in Washington interrupted its deliberations to ask the judge to clarify his instructions on whether a “person of ordinary common sense” would have known that hijacking a plane was illegal. U.S. District Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. repeated for the jury the instructions he gave it last Friday. But in what Younis’ court-appointed attorney Francis D. Carter interpreted as a victory, the judge inserted a phrase stipulating that the jury may consider whether an ordinary person in Beirut, Lebanon, ought to have understood that sky piracy was against the law. During two days on the witness stand last week, Younis acknowledged that he led a band of five armed men aboard Royal Jordanian Airlines Flight 402 in Beirut on June 11, 1985, in Beirut and held its 70 passengers and crew members hostage for 30 hours. Younis said that he was acting under orders from the Amal militia, a Lebanese Shiite Muslim group. The jury later recessed without reaching a verdict.


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