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Moyne Trial Delayed by Change in Prosecutor’s Charges; Asks Death for Both Defendants

The trial of the two Palestinian Jews being tried for the assassination of Lord Moyne was prolonged today when the prosecution, in an attempt to obtain the death penalty for both defendants, moved that Ephraim Ben Zuri be held equally responsible with Eliahu Khakim for the murder of Moyne.

The original indictment charged Khakim with killing Moyne, and acting as an accessory in the murder of his chauffeur, and charged Ben Zuri with murdering the chauffeur and being an accessory in the death of Moyne. Since it has been agreed in court that the shooting of the chauffeur was unpremeditated, there was a possibility that even if Khakim was condemned to death, Ben Zuri would escape with a lighter sentence. The prosecutor based his request for a change in the indictment on the fact that both have admitted that they came to Egypt for the purpose of killing Moyne.

At the request of defense counsel Hassan Hosni, the court granted an adjournment until tomorrow to give the defense an opportunity to prepare new arguments based on the altered indictment. At the same time, the court named a doctor to examine Khakim in an effort to determine whether or not he is over 18, a point on which the defense and prosecution disagree. If Khakim were proven to be younger than 18, he could not, under Egyptian law, be sentenced to death.

Prior to adjournment, the prosecutor, replying to previous arguments by Abdel Fattah el Said Bey, one of the defense attorneys, said that the acquittal of David Frankfurter, who murdered the Nazi agent Gustioff in Switzerland, and of Sholom Schwarzbard, who assassinated the anti-Semitic leader Petlura in Paris, could not be considered by the court since all the facts are not available to it. He pointed out that political assassins have been sentenced to death in the past by Egyptian courts, and asserted that the Egyptian criminal code does not provide for any specific punishment for political offenses.

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