LONDON (May. 18)
Elie Cohen, 40, was hanged in a public square in Damascus this morning after being convicted by a military court of espionage for Israel in a trial in which he was denied counsel, it was reported here today from the Syrian capital.
The verdict of the court was attached to the body which was left hanging for six hours He was the first Israeli executed in Syria. He was convicted May 8 on charges of entering a military area in disguise and passing classified information to Israel. Rabbi Nassim Andbu, religious leader of Syria’s Jewish community, joined the condemned man in a final prayer, according to the report. Mrs. Cohen sought clemency for her husband but her appeals as well as requests for counsel, were rejected by the Syrian authorities. She has three children in Israel.
Mr. Cohen came to Israel with brothers and sisters after the Sinai campaign. Arab newspapers reported he later reached Syria via Argentian where, under the assumed name of Camile Amin Thabbet, he made his way to Damascus where he became friendly with Syrian leaders, including Cabinet Ministers and high-ranking military officers from whom, it was charged, he obtained information which allegedly was radioed each morning to Israel.
It had previously been reported that he was discovered after accompanying Egyptian General Amer on a tour of the Israeli-Syrian border where he was photographed. He was recognized by Egyptian Intelligence, according to the report, when the photographs reached Cairo. Another report was that the Syrian authorities traced a transmitter to Cohen’s villa.