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British Commander Commutes Death Sentence of Palestine Jew to Life Imprisonment

The death sentence imposed by a military court on Mathias Shmulevitz, 24, a member of the outlawed terrorist Stern Group, has been commuted to life imprisonment by the General Officer Commanding British troops in Palestine, it was announced today.

Shmulevitz, who carried on his activities under the alias of Raphael Birnbaum, was convicted of illegal possession of a revolver, several rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade, and of firing upon British police. The death sentence was imposed under the emergency defense regulations re-introduced following the outbreak of terror here in March.

The only other Jew to be sentenced to death by a military court in Palestine since Britain assumed the mandate was Shlomo Ben Josef, 25, who was hanged on June 29, 1938 for firing on an Arab bus during the period of Arab-Jewish disturbances. A Jewish constable, Mordechai Schwartz, was hanged on April 16, 1938, after being convicted in civil court of killing an Arab policeman, but personal rather political issues were involved in his case.