January 27, 1988 – Kidnaps And Finger-Pointing
Word on this morning from Beirut that another German businessman had been kidnapped. This one, a West German national of Lebanese origin was snatched outside his home when three cars of gunmen pulled up and forced him into one of the cars. He was the second kidnapping of a West German, and the abduction came as West German authorities were trying Abbas Hamadi, a Lebanese suspect in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, in a Düsseldorf courtroom. Observers saw it as a tit-for-tat with hopes of arranging a swap. Hamadi’s brother Mohammed appeared in the courtroom for cross-examination, but took advantage of his right to remain silent.
Meanwhile, in a Israeli courtroom, the trial of John Demjanjuk continued today. The retired Ohio autoworker had maintained his innocence, and that his identification as Ivan The Terrible, a notorious Nazi War criminial, was a case of mistaken identity. On this day, his claim was bolstered in court and could significantly weaken the case against Demjanjuk, when his lawyers produced a memo from 1945, signed by Eliahu Rosenberg, one of the five Treblinka Death Camp survivors who accused Demjanjuk of being “Ivan The Terrible”. The memo, describing a prison uprising in 1943 said they located Demjanjuk operating one of the gas furnaces and had killed him. Rosenberg tried to back away from the sworn testimony in which he implied that he had witnessed the death of Ivan. He explained the contradiction that Demjanjuk had indeed escaped death. Rosenberg went on to renew his accusation that Demjanjuk was really Ivan. To which Demjanjuk burst out with the words “liar. Liar!”. Defense lawyers said that, if the real Ivan was dead, then so was the case against John Demjanjuk.
And the War on Drug Traffickers and terrorists in Colombia was on, with President Verjilio Barco declaring a 50 point program to combat the problem. The plan called for 10,000 judges, prosecutors and police and Barco offered big rewards to informants during his address to the nation the night before.
That’s just a little of what went on, this January 27, 1988 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.