Israel Court Starts Hearings Against Seaman Held by Egyptians

A preliminary hearing began in Magistrate’s Court here yesterday on government charges that Raphael Eylon, Israeli seaman-newspaperman removed by the Egyptians from a Danish vessel passing through the Suez Canal, had given the Egyptians information of military value. Mr. Eylon was reported to have been promised an interview with President Nasser in return.

The charges apparently grew out of an investigation and questioning of Mr. Eylon after his release by the Egyptian authorities. This is not the first time preliminary charges have been placed against Israelis held by the Arabs and later released. The court must rule after hearing such testimony whether the government has enough evidence to warrant the placement of formal charges against a defendant.

The District Attorney asserted in court yesterday that on July 27, while held by the Egyptians, Mr. Eylon had given them information “infringing on the security of the state and of utility to the enemy.” A police witness told the court that the journalist had admitted under questioning that he described military installations at the Israeli port of Elath and had identified for an Egyptian colonel military objectives on an aerial photograph.

Mr. Eylon’s removal from the vessel Brigitte Toft in the Suez Canal two months ago created an international furore and widespread protests against Egypt’s violation of freedom of navigation through the waterway.

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