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British Commander Commutes Death Sentences of 18 Palestinian Jewish Youths

The sentence of death imposed upon 18 Jewish youths convicted of participating in a raid on the Haifa railway yards June 17 was today commuted to life imprisonment by Gen. Sir Evelyn Barker, military commander in Palestine, it was officially announced here tonight. The 18 youths and four women were convicted on Aug. 16 by a British military court which tried them in absentia.

The trial of Menahem Alkalay, wounded Jew who was also charged with participating in the raid on the Haifa railway yards was adjourned suddenly this morning because of the defendant’s physical condition. The trial opened yesterday.

Observing Alkalay’s distress, the president of the court asked him if he was feeling well. He replied that his legs, which are in plaster casts, were paralyzed. The court was adjourned immediately and an army doctor summoned. Eight prosecution witnesses testified before the proceedings were halted.