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Trial of Israeli ‘agents’ Opens in Basle; Accused Plead ‘not Guilty’

The trial of Joseph Beu-Gal, 33, an Israeli and Dr. Franz Otto Joke like, 42, a foreign scientist, both of whom were arrested earlier this year as alleged Israeli “agents, ” opened here this morning with an account by Dr. Joke like of his research work on behalf of Egypt last year when he was asked to cooperate in military work for the Nasser Government that would involve nuclear energy.

Both Ben-Gal and Dr. Jokelik pleaded not guilty to charges of having used coercion on the daughter of a German scientist, Dr. Paul Goercke, to influence him to leave Egypt. Dr, Jokelik, however, admitted having entered Switzerland illegally. He denied the charge that he had bought war material in Switzerland for export to Egypt in violation of Swiss Federal laws.

Dr. Jokelik testified that when he first arrived in Egypt he was told he would work on chemical projects in industrial planning. Early least year, however, he said, he was asked to work on the military project involving nuclear energy along with six Egyptian collaborators.

He told the court that another German working in Egypt planned to equip rocket capable of destroying Israel with Strontium 90 and radioactive cobalt.

Dr, Jokelik revealed that he had decided to leave his Egyptian employers after he realized they were planning Israel’s annihilation and that his actions might also have serious consequences for western countries.

BEN-GAL TELLS COURT HE WAS NEVER A SECRET AGENT; BORN IN ISRAEL

Dr. Jokelik said that after he left his work in Egypt, he returned to Europe where he was contacted by two Israeli agents in Wurtzburg earlier this year. Through them, he said he had been brought in contact with Ben-Gal on a number of occasions, reporting to him on the work which he had done in contacting the families of German scientists whom he had tried to persuade to leave Egypt.

Ben-Gal told the court that he was born in Israel, the son of a carpenter and attended elementary school and a vocational school before serving in the Israeli army, After his army service, he said, he served with the Ministry of Education as a youth instructor from 1951 to October 1962 when he was given the opportunity of traveling to Europe on behalf of the Ministry to study youth problems in Germany and Switzerland.

He told the court his contact with Dr. Jokelik had nothing to do with his youth assignment and he had no other secret or official tasks. He said his approach to Dr. Jokelik was undertaken at the request of “a friend of mine. ” He denied he had ever been a secret agent and said his actions had only been prompted by patriotism and that he only desired to be useful while he was in Europe.

During the testimony of Dr. Jokelik, Georg Brunschvig, defense attorney for Ben-Gal, drew the court’s attention to the fact that the entire accusation was based on the words of Heidi Goercke, daughter of Paul Goercke, the German scientist now working in Egypt and that all relatives were presently in Egypt. “Can we expect her freely to testify and without any restraint?” Dr. Brunschvig asked the court.

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