Jerusalem (Jul. 30)
A reprieve for Joseph Mizrachi Urphali, the only Jew under the death sentence in connection with last Summer’s disturbances, is demanded by the Hebrew daily “Davar.” The paper says that Urphali “is facing the gallows not as a murderer under extenuating circumstances but as a completely innocent man against whom the state has committed a terrible crime and whom it tortured for many months.”
While the privy Council, the highest legal tribunal in the British Empire, yesterday dismissed the petition calling for a pardon or at least a commutation of the death sentence in Urphali’s case as was done with all but three of the Arabs convicted of murder, counsel for Urphali, headed by Sir Boyd Merriman, counsel for the Jews at the Inquiry Commission hearings, and Viscount Erleigh, son-in-law of Sir Herbert Samuel, are preparing a new petition, this one to the High Commissioner, asking for a pardon or a commutation of the sentence.
The Privy Council dismissed Urphali’s appeal on the ground that the Court of Appeal in Palestine which dealt with the case had exercised its discretion and the Privy Council does not sit as a court of criminal appeal. The Privy Council similarly rejected the appeals of the condemned Arabs but their terms were commuted by executive clemency while no action was taken concerning Urphali because his appeal was then pending before the Privy Council.
The new plea for clemency to Urphali is being based on a recommendation for mercy made by the lower court in Palestine in sentencing him to death after his second trial which had been necessitated by the Court of Appeal’s throwing out the evidence that had been used against him during his first trial.