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Greek Envoy Tells Presidents’ Conference That Trial of Terrorists Has Not Been Put off

The Greek Ambassador has denied reports that his Government has postponed the trial of two Arab terrorists who attacked an El Al airliner at Athens airport last Dec. 26. Ambassador Basil Witsaxis told a delegation representing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that news stories that the trial was deferred “for political reasons” or any other reasons were incorrect. An Israeli passenger was killed in the attack.

He said a statement by the public prosecutor in Athens had been misinterpreted and that “the date of the trial has simply not been set.” The Israel Government meanwhile was reported to have been formally advised that Greece is proceeding with preparations for a January or February trial. The information was conveyed to Israel’s diplomatic representative in Greece, Yaacov Carot.

The Jewish delegation asked Ambassador Witsaxis for clarification of a public statement by the Greek Orthodox Archbishop in Amman, Jordan that the two terrorists would be freed. The envoy said he would communicate with his Government. The Greek prosecutor’s office had announced that a decision had been reached to postpone the trial indefinitely to avoid damaging Greek relations with Arab states. The Athens announcement evoked a strong protest from Israel which was conveyed to friendly nations.

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