CAIRO (Jan. 15)
The five-day old trial of the two Palestine terrorists charged with murdering Lord Moyne, British Resident Minister in the Middle East, drew to a close today as defense counsel completed their presentations. A verdict is expected tomorrow. The imminent termination of the trial was facilitated by the defense’s agreement to withdraw its demand for the calling of several political prisoners interned in Palestine.
Today’s proceedings were interrupted shortly after court opened when the presiding judge announced that he had just received an anonymous note warning him “to either transfer the case to an international court or acquit the defendants or else…” Tewik Does Pasha, one of the defense counsel, received a similar threatening letter. The judge revealed at the same time that he had received a telegram from a group of prominent Arabs, accusing him of permitting the court to become a platform for Jewish propaganda.
When the trial resumed, Hassan Hosni, speaking for Ephraim Ben Zuri, one of the two defendants, dwelt on the extenuating circumstances surrounding the murder of Moyne and his chauffeur, Lance Cpl. Fuller, and said that because of the social and moral motives underlying the crime the accused were entitled to leniency. Basing his arguments on the works of the Italian criminologist Lombrose and other authorities, Hosni asserted that the Egyptian judicial code provides for leniency in certain cases, and quoted from the Italian code to show that it likewise made such provisions. The defendants, he said, do not want pity, but are entitled to be treated differently than common criminals.
The president of the court interjected that while the Italian code required the judge to exercise leniency under special circumstances, Egyptian jurists were not obliged to do so. Replying, the defense attorney said that Egypt has always differentiated between political and other criminals, and has stipulated in ? with other countries that it would allow extradition of political offended only if they had killed the head of a state. “What if Moyne had been killed in Palestine, and the murderer escaped to Egypt,” he continued, “what would have happened then?” Under the Egyptian-Palestine treaty we could not have handed him over to the authorities. This aspect cannot be ignored.”
The Palestine witnesses whose testimony the defense finally agreed to waive would show the court. Hosni stated, why Khakim and Ben Zuri “tried to fight for the freedom of Israel through terroristic means.”