Kozo Okamoto, the lone survivor of the three-man Japanese group involved in the Lod Airport massacre, appeared before a military tribunal at Lod on Thursday (22 June).
GV INT Courtroom with Pastor Vega at stand with military tribunal in background
MV Okamoto seated between two guards ZOOM IN TO CU Okamoto
BV Vega with translator
MV Ministry tribunal
CU Okamoto giving testimony
GV PAN INT Court-room
Initials BB/2200 DMH/DW/BB/2145
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Background: Kozo Okamoto, the lone survivor of the three-man Japanese group involved in the Lod Airport massacre, appeared before a military tribunal at Lod on Thursday (22 June). His appearance came at a preliminary hearing to enable evidence to be heard from the leader of a group of Puerto Rican pilgrims, Pastor Jose Avner Munds Vega. The Paster was due to leave Israel for home on Friday (23 June).
Giving evidence to the tribunal, Vega said he saw "people hurt, wounded being dragged away and blood all over the floor". Members of his party of Puerto Rican pilgrims were among the more than one hundred victims of the massacre.
In a statement to the court, Okamoto said he did not "refuse the facts of the trial." He added: "I want to explain my political opinions".
Okamoto faces four charges--membership of a group which fired shots and threw grenades, shooting fire arms, throwing grenades, and the extension of services to an illegal organisation (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). Three of the four charges carry a possible death penalty.
After the evidence was heard from the Pastor the hearing was adjourned. No date has been set for the full trial to begin.