Sunday, November 17, 2013

United States v. Yunis case brief

United States v. Yunis case brief summary
924 F.2d 1086 (1991)

Defendant was convicted of conspiracy, aircraft piracy, and hostage taking. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied his pretrial motions that related to jurisdiction, illegal arrest, and the government's withholding of classified documents during discovery. Defendant appealed the denial of his motions.

Defendant and four other men boarded an airline flight before its departure from Beirut, Lebanon. They carried military assault rifles, ammunition bandoleers, and hand grenades. The hijackers explained to the crew and passengers that they wanted the plane to fly to Tunis, where a conference of the Arab League was under way and that they wanted a meeting with delegates to the conference. Their ultimate goal was removal of all Palestinians from Lebanon. At defendant's trial, he admitted participation in the hijacking and offered the affirmative defense of obedience to military orders and asserted that he acted on instructions given by his superiors in Lebanon's Amal Militia. The jury convicted him of conspiracy, hostage taking, and air piracy.

The court held that a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance was the test for whether militiamen and members of volunteer corps had the rights and responsibilities of national armies.

The court affirmed the lower court's decisions.

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