Jerusalem (Oct. 1)
Major Roy A. Farran, British officer charged with the murder of a 17-year-old Jewish yorth Alemender Rubovitz, last May, wont on trial here this morning before the highest Bcitish ##tary court. Farran pleaded "not guilty."
The trial of the British officer who twice fled in an attempt to avoid prosecution and who was extradited from Syria the first time and surrendered after the second flight, opened in an atmosphere free of tension which usually accompanies a Palestine trial at which the defendant faces capital punishment. The former commando officer, who was loaned to the Palestine police force to organize anti-extremist strong arm squads, entered the courtroom almost unguarded and in full military dress with two rows of war decorations.
The prosecution opened its case by presenting the story of the alleged murder of Rubovitz, who disappeared on the evening of May 6 and has never been found. The boy was seen to be kidnapped by a number of men in military or semi-military dress who dragged him into a large black sedan.
Although the body was never recovered, it is charged that Farran and his accomplices killed Rubovitz during "questioning" concerning his alleged Sternist activities and turned his body over to a group of Bedouins for burial. The Palestine police have notified the victim’s family that "it is presumed" that he is dead.
PROSECUTION SUBMITS MILITARY CAP AS EVIDENCE; PHOTO IDENTIFIED
The prosecution submitted as evidence a military cap, found at the scene of the kidnapping, which had Farran’s name inscribed on the sweatband, with the exception of one letter. The name appeared as "FAR," then a blank space, followed by "AN."
During the two-and-a-half hours of the trial this morning, Rubovitz’ brother, Jacob, was called to identify a photograph of the missing youth, and two 13-year-old boys who witnessed the abduction were placed on the stand. The court was forced to adjourn for a short time during Jacob Rubovitz’ testimony owing to the mysterious disappearance of a photograph of Alexander from the prosecution’s files. When a second likeness was obtained, Jacob made a positive identification.
Both boys who witnessed the crime identified the photograph as being that of the youth whom they saw abducted and said that they had seen a man dressed in slacks, tennis shoes and an army shirt running from the scene. One boy, Jacob Jecobson, said, in response to a question, that he thought that he could identify the man.
ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENSE AND STATE ARRIVS FROM ENGLAND
A total of 29 witnesses, 17 for the prosecution and 12 for the defense, will be called. Both attorneys for the defense and for the state arrived from Britain, the prosecutor flying in hours before the trial opened.
Although representatives of the entire local press were permitted to witness the proceedings, all spectators were searched two and three times before being admitted to the courtroom. Special permits were required for passage through heavy detachments of police and troops who had cordoned off the building to protect the court and the accused.
Inside the court, observers were struck by the air of ease which prevailed aqually among the court, the guards who carried no rifles or bayonets but wore only side arms, and the prisoner. One observer commented that Farran was being treated most "tenderly" by all who came in contact with him.