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Japanese Red Army founder sentenced to 20 years for French embassy attack

[JURIST] Fusako Shigenobu [Wikipedia profile], founder of the terrorist group known as the Japanese Red Army (JRA) [FAS backgrounder; BBC timeline], was convicted in a Tokyo court Thursday and sentenced to twenty years in prison for kidnapping and attempted murder during a 1974 attack on the French Embassy in The Hague. She was also convicted of passport violations.

Shigenobu founded the extreme leftist JRA in 1971. The group advocated the end of capitalism and the influence of the US. Its activities against the US military presence in Japan attracted the attention of authorities and forced many members of the group into exile. In 1970, JRA was responsible for the hijacking of a Japan Airlines passenger plane and in 1972, the group staged an attack at Israel's international airport that left twenty-five people dead and eighty injured. In 1974, the JRA carried out the attack on the French embassy at the Hague, and took eleven members of the embassy staff hostage, including the ambassador. The siege lasted five days, ending when the French government agreed to free a jailed member of the JRA in return for the hostages. Shigenobu eluded arrest for a quarter of a century. She was arrested [ICT report] in Osaka in November 2000, following a tip from an informer, and was charged [BBC report] in connection with the attack on the French embassy. AP has more. From Japan, the Asahi Shimbun has local coverage.

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