Urphali, Jew Whose Death Sentence Had Been Set Aside, is Resentenced

Joseph Mizrachi Urphali, the first Jew ever sentenced to death in Palestine since it came under British rule, and whose death sentence was set aside last January by the Court of Appeals which ordered a new trial, was today again sentenced to death. His new trial lasted hardly more than a day.

When the Court of Appeals rendered its opinion January 25 everyone expected that a retrial would mean an acquittal for the middle-aged Urphali. His counsel, Mordecai Eliash, was so certain that a new trial would vindicate Urphali, that he demanded a retrial in order to obtain complete vindication.

Urphali was charged with having been implicated in the murder of two Arabs who were killed on August 25 when the Arabs attempted to invade Tel Aviv from a point just outside of Urphali’s house. The Court of Appeals, in setting aside the lower court’s judgment, discredited the four Arab eye-witnesses and pointed out that it was impossible to reconcile their evidence with the medical evidence. The Court of Appeals held that the lower court had been unjustified in accepting the Arabs’ story.

Urphali’s new trial opened yesterday with two new witnesses testifying. Both witnesses were airmen who had participated in repulsing the attack on Tel Aviv. Of late they had been living in Egypt. They testified that when the Arab crowd attacked Tel Aviv they and other soldiers fired into the crowd of whom several fell wounded or killed. The airman also said that shots were fired by non-military people.

Since the commutation of the death sentence of Simcha Hinkis, the Jewish police constable, Urphali remains the only Jew under the death penalty.

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