JERUSALEM (Aug. 20)
Israel asked the United Nations today to intervene on behalf of two Iraqi Jews and ten others facing trial — and probably the gallows — in Iraq for allegedly spying for Israel. Foreign Minister Abba Eban appealed to Secretary General U Thant to use his good offices with the Baghdad regime to prevent a repetition of last January’s public hangings of Jews and other alleged spies in Baghdad and Basra. He said the charges brought against the accused, which Baghdad radio announced earlier this week, were “absolutely groundless and slanderous,” made by a “regime whose policy it is to persecute religious and national minorities, primarily Jews.”
(Mr. Eban’s note was delivered personally to Mr. Thant last evening at his UN office by Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, head of the Israeli delegation.)
The announcement in Baghdad that a revolutionary court will try 12 men and women, including the Jewish brothers, Meir and Sassoun Abdou, has aroused anger and alarm in Israel. The chairman of the Association of Iraqi Jews in Israel, D. Pattel, called on the United Nations Human Rights Commission to investigate the condition of Jews in Iraq and other Arab countries without delay. Shlomo Hillel, deputy director of the Israel Foreign Ministry, urged world opinion to exert pressure on the Iraqi authorities. He said the “mock trials” in Baghdad could signal a new wave of hangings and persecution for Iraqi Jews.
SAYS IRAQI RULERS INTEND TO CONTINUE MOCK TRIALS AND PUBLIC EXECUTIONS
Mr. Eban, in his note to Mr. Thant, declared that “the public and barbaric hangings of Jews in a market place in Baghdad last January shocked the entire civilized world but apparently did not deter the Baghdad rulers who have decided to continue with mock trials and executions.” Mr. Eban said the danger facing the Jews of Iraq is now at its height with scores of them imprisoned and thousands of others oppressed and fearful for their lives. Mr. Eban told Mr. Thant that he thought the action taken by the UN in the aftermath of last January’s hangings was “inadequate” and in “sharp contrast to the energetic action” taken by the UN which appointed another commission to investigate the situation of Arabs in the Israeli-occupied areas. Mr. Eban referred to a special committee of the UN Human Rights Commission which is presently hearing testimony in the Arab capitals of alleged mistreatment of Arabs under Israeli rule.
Mr. Pattel, in his appeal to the Human Rights Commission, said the Iraqi regime was “infringing in the most barbaric way on the human rights of the Jewish minority.” He said the Abdou brothers were arrested a year ago and held incommunicado. It was only this week that their family learned from Baghdad radio that they were to go on trial.
Mr. Hillel said that all hopes that the condition of Iraqi Jews might improve have faded. He said that five Jews have died or been killed in Iraqi prisons so far and only recently a Jew was killed in a Baghdad street but authorities made no effort to investigate the crime. Mr. Hillel said Iraq reneged on a promise by its president that any Jew who wished to leave the country could do so. He said that out of 1,500 applicants, an exit visa was granted to only one, an aged woman who was permitted to leave the country after having spent two years in jail.