These true events occurred in 1979, and they are detailed in the US v. Tiede, US Federal Court of Berlin.
Judgement in Berlin by Judge Stern
Judgement from the past - lessons for the future, May 21, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from Great Britain
Judgement in Berlin tells the true story of the United States Federal Court for Berlin - a court specially created to try one man for one crime. The story takes place at the height of the Cold War - Berlin is still a divided city and East German citizens are willing to risk all to escape and begin a new life in the west. When 3 East German citizens hijack a civilian airline and land at the US Air Force’s base at Templehof, authorities are in a quandry - West German law encourages such escapes, and automatically confers citizenship on the refugees. But the International treaties on air piracy have just been signed, and the government can’t be seen to condone terrorism. Because Berlin is still, technically, an “occupied city” the West German govenment turns to “the Occupiers” for help - the United States government. And so the United States Occupation Court for Berlin is convened, for the first time in the 35 years since the war ended and occupation began. What follows is a fascinating journey as Herbert Stern, the young Federal Judge appointed to hear the case, tries to separate political expediency from the course of justice and protect the rights of the Defendants, only recently escaped from a world where justice was an alien concept. Stern struggles to untangle the political and legal complextites in order to bring a sense of right to a world turned upside down. This is a fascinating book for lawyers, historians, and all those with an interest in how society governs itself, and how justice struggles to triumph. It also has the added bonus of being well-written, and exciting, so that anyone who loves spy-thrillers will find it impossible to put down. And the most remarkable thing about the book - IT’S ALL TRUE!