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Israeli Govt. Urged to Release Detained Sternists: Deny Members Are Terrorists

The Israeli Government was asked today to release all detained members of the Stern Group and to remove the stigma of .terrorism from the organization.

Acting on a request from detained Sternists Max Seligman, an attorney, wrote to the Defense, Interior and Justice Ministries urging that the Stern Group be registered as apolitical movement. He denied that there was any connection between it and the group responsible for the slaying of Count Folke Bernadotte.

When a Sternist was brought to trial here this morning on charges of forging official documents, his attorney upset court procedure by refusing to open the defense on the grounds that a lawyer who defends an accused terrorist is liable to prosecution under the new Israeli emergency defense regulations.

The prosecutor ridiculed the argument, asserting that it was the duty of an attorney to defend any and all persons regardless of the charges against them. The defense attorney, M. Lange, refused, however, to continue with the trial, Lange is a partner of Seligman.