Fawaz Yunis (defendant), a foreign national, was among several Arab men who hijacked a Jordanian commercial airliner over a two-day period in June 1985. The plane was scheduled to fly from Lebanon to Jordan. The hijackers kept the passengers on the plane as hostages and commanded the pilots to land in Tunisia where the Arab League Conference was meeting. When landing privileges were denied, the plane returned to Lebanon; the hostages were released. The hijackers read a statement then blew up the aircraft. The only connection between the incident and the United States was the chance presence of three American citizens aboard the plane. The United States (plaintiff) filed charges against Yunis in a federal district court under the federal Hostage Taking Act and Destruction of Aircraft Act. Yunis sought to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the United States lacked jurisdiction to prosecute a foreign national for acts done entirely in a foreign territory.