Cairo (Jan. 17)
The week-old trial of Eliahu Khakim and Ephraim Ben Zuri for the murder of Lord Moyne closed here today. The presiding judge announced that the court’s verdict will be issued at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
An indication that the defense hopes for a sentence of life imprisonment at best was given by attorney Hassen Hosni who, disputing the prosecution demand that both Ben Zuri and Khakim be held equally guilty in the murder of Moyne, stated that the former was only an accessory and, therefore, his sentence should be penal servitude for life rather than death.
A defense move to save Khakim from the death penalty on the ground that he was under 18 was disallowed by the president of the court who said that the doctor appointed yesterday to examine the young terrorists had reported that he was 20 years old, and Ben Zuri was 23. The physician’s findings were challenged by defense counsel who asserted that in previous cases doctors have differed as much as ten years in approximating a person’s age. He also said that Khakim’s birth certificate, which indicates he is less than 18, was valid.
The youth of both of the defendants was stressed in the summations by their lawyers. Hosni remarked that Ben Zuri had joined the secret terrorist organization which sent him here to kill Moyne six years ago when he was too young to understand the responsibilities involved. He continued to challenge the alteration of the indictment making Ben Zuri equally guilty of the Moyne murder, declaring that all the events proved that Ben Zuri never intended shooting the British statesman. The court president retorted that Ben Zuri, himself, had admitted that he had agreed with Khakim to shoot Moyne if it became necessary.
Before adjourning the proceedings, the president asked the accused whether they had anything to say. Khakim said that he wished to explain why he had deserted from the British Army, since his reasons for doing so were similar to those motivating the murder. He was not allowed to speak by the judge, who declared that everything had already been said.
Ben Zuri stated that he disagreed with some of the statements of the defense attorneys regarding politics, but on the whole the defense was brilliant, and even better than what I had expected.” He publicly thanked his lawyers.