Japanese Red Army founder walks free after 20 years in prison

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Fusako Shige­nobu, the 76-year-old female founder of the once-feared Japanese Red Army, walked free from prison on Saturday after completing a 20-year sentence for a 1974 embassy siege.

Shigenobu was one of the world’s most notori-ous wom­en during the 1970s and 1980s, when her radical leftist group carried out armed attacks worldwide in support of the Palestinian cause.

She left the prison in Tokyo in a black car with her daughter as several supporters held a banner saying: “We love Fusako”.

“I apologise for the inconvenience my arrest has cau­sed to so many people,” Shig­e­nobu told re-porters after the release. “It’s half a century ago… but we caused dam­age to innocent people who were strangers to us by prioritising our battle, such as by hostage-taking,” she said.

76-year-old woman says she will now focus on her cancer treatment, will continue to reflect on her past

The former soy-sauce company worker is be-lieved to have masterminded the 1972 machine gun and grenade attack on Tel Aviv’s Lod Airport, which left 26 people dead and injured about 80. She was arrested in Japan in 2000 and sentenced to two dec-ades behind bars six years later for her part in a siege of the French embassy in the Netherlands. She had lived as a fugitive in the Middle East for around 30 years before resurfacing in Japan.—AFP