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German Court Sentences Four in 1986 Bombing - 2001-11-13

A German court has convicted four people of the 1986 bombing that killed three people at a Berlin discotheque.

The court sentenced Verena Chanaa, the woman convicted of planting the bomb in the discotheque, to 14 years in prison on three counts of murder and 104 counts of attempted murder.

Two Palestinians and a Libyan were sentenced to terms of between 12 and 14 years for their role in the bombing. The court acquitted one other person, the bomber's sister, Andrea Hausler, citing a lack of evidence.

At the time of the attack in 1986, Berlin was still divided and the discotheque, LaBelle, was a favorite of American soldiers stationed in the city. Two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman were killed in the bombing.

The Reagan administration accused Libya of playing a role in the attack and in retaliation bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Bengazi.

In his verdict, Judge Peter Marhofer said Libya bore at least some serious responsibility for the attack. The trial began four years ago. The verdict comes at a time when the German government is trying to improve ties with the Libya, and is looking to Libya for help in organizing the release of German relief workers being held prisoner in Afghanistan by the Taleban.