Japan frees convicted terrorist who occupied Hague embassy
Fusako Shigenobu, the 76-year-old founder of the once feared Japanese Red Army, was released in Tokyo on Saturday after serving a 20-year sentence. She was fined in 2006 for her part in the occupation of the French embassy in The Hague in 1974. Two police officers were seriously injured at the time.
Three members of the terrorist group raided the French embassy in September 1974, demanding the release of fellow members held in a French prison. During the raid, they opened fire on two police officers, who were seriously injured. They also held the ambassador and 10 employees hostage for more than four days. Shigenobu is said to have organized the occupation, but she was not present at the embassy herself. She has always maintained that she is innocent.
"I apologize for the inconvenience my arrest has caused so many people," Shigenobu told reporters after her release. "It's been half a century...but we have harmed innocent people who were strangers to us by prioritizing our struggle, such as by taking them hostage."
Shigenobu was one of the most infamous women in the 1970s and 1980s, when her radical left-wing group carried out armed attacks worldwide in support of the Palestinian cause. She is also said to have masterminded the 1972 attack on Lod airport in Tel Aviv, which left 26 dead and 80 injured.
She was arrested in Japan in 2000 when she turned up there, after living as a fugitive in the Middle East for about 30 years.