• Kyodo


Japanese Red Army faction member Kozo Okamoto, whose whereabouts are unknown, visited the office of one of his lawyers in Beirut on Friday, the Beirut-based Arabian-language daily Al-Hayat reported Saturday.

Okamoto, 52, was released from a Beirut prison in March after serving three years for passport and visa forgery. He has been granted political asylum by the Lebanese government, and little has been reported on his movements.

Okamoto visited the office of Najah Wakim, a member of Lebanon’s National Assembly, to express his condolences over the death of the lawyer’s mother, the newspaper said.

He and four other members of the Japanese Red Army faction were arrested in Lebanon in 1997 and sentenced to three years in prison for using forged passports. Their prison terms expired March 7.

While the other four were forcibly returned to Japan in March, the Lebanon granted political asylum to Okamoto because he had participated in resistance operations against Israel and had been tortured in Israeli jails.

Okamoto was sentenced to life imprisonment in Israel for taking part in a May 1972 attack at Tel Aviv’s Lod airport that left 26 people dead and 76 others injured. He was released in 1985 as part of a prisoner swap between Israel and Palestinian guerrillas.

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