Prosecutors can use a suspected Lebanese terrorist's confession as evidence when he stands trial on charges of leading a 1985 airline hijacking in the Middle East, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
A three-judge appeals panel reversed the decision of a lower court judge that the FBI had illegally obtained the signed confession from Fawaz Younis about the June 11, 1985, hijacking of a Royal Jordanian airliner.Younis was arrested Sept. 13, 1987, after being lured aboard an FBI-chartered yacht off Cyprus by the prospect of making a drug deal. He is awaiting trial in U.S. District Court on charges he led a group of five men who hijacked the airliner in Beirut.
The appeals panel said it found no evidence to support U.S. District Judge Barrington D. Parker's finding that Younis' recurrent bouts of seasickness had impaired his understanding when he was advised by the FBI of his right to remain silent.
The panel rejected as "clearly erroneous" Parker's finding that during the interrogation sessions aboard a Navy ship, Younis suffered "throbbing and numbing" pain from wrists that were fractured when FBI agents slammed him to the deck of the yacht.