3 Iraqi Jews Slated to Die, Charged with Serving As Spies for Israel

Three Iraqi Jews, sentenced to death in Baghdad for allegedly spying for Israel, were scheduled to be executed today, according to reliable information received here. Four other Jews were on trial for their lives and at least 12 more were under arrest on the same charge and their trial was imminent, the informant said.

(The American Jewish Committee reported in New York yesterday that seven Iraqi Jews and 12 other Iraqis, including a Christian, were facing death sentences on charges of espionage. The AJ Committee’s information was received from its overseas office. Richard Maass, chairman of its foreign affairs department said that five of the Jewish defendants had been arrested immediately after the June, 1967 Arab-Israel war. “The whole basis of this show trial seems absurd when we realize that Jews who have been held in jail for 18 months are now being tried for alleged spying activities,” Mr. Maass said. According to the AJ Committee’s information, two of the Jews were being tried in absentia. They were identified as Shaul Sasson, probably the son of the Grand Rabbi of Iraq, and Albert Nounou. The others are Ezra Zilkha, Haskiel Zilkha, Yakob Namirdi, Eliahu Ilyash and Safa Hayim. The latest reports of the trial, which was said to be conducted on camera, followed reports two weeks ago of Iraqi charges of an alleged Israeli, pro-American plot against the Iraqi Government, Mr. Maass noted.)

(At a press conference in Paris today, the World Jewish Congress expressed horror at the death sentences and said the victims were clearly the scapegoats for Iraq’s internal difficulties.)

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