WASHINGTON (Nov. 24)
At least four Jews were secretly hanged in Iraq within the last month and seven others were either killed in prison or died there of maltreatment or torture, Washington Post correspondent Alfred Friendly reported from Jerusalem today. Eleven Jews have been publicly hanged in Iraq since last January as alleged spies for Israel and the United States.
Mr. Friendly said he obtained his information from well informed sources in Jerusalem who have the names of most of the Jews recently hanged and those who died in jail. The information was partly confirmed by newspaper reports in Beirut last week which announced the execution in Baghdad of eight members of an alleged Israeli spy network. The report, based on information from Baghdad, identified one of them as a Jew, Naji Sa’ati, who was known to have been imprisoned shortly after the June, 1967 Arab-Israeli war and had not been heard from since, Mr. Friendly reported.
“Informed sources here have reason to believe that also among the group was a second Jew, his identity unknown, and a third and fourth–the brothers Meir and Abraham Sasson Abdo, aged respectively 63 and 59,” Mr. Friendly wrote. “On Aug. 18 an official Iraqi announcement named them as members of a spy network that supposedly had just been uncovered and would be brought to trial. But like Sa’ati, the Abdo brothers had also been in prison for at least two years. Israelis here familiar with the events say they had been informed of the eight executions well before the confirmatory reports surfaced last week in Beirut,” Mr. Friendly said. “They also have the names of seven more Jews known to have died in prison in Baghdad in the last few months. It is not known, however, who was killed outright, who died of torture or who was a victim of the notoriously terrible prison conditions.”
Mr. Friendly said that “Israeli analysts believe that Iraq has been deterred by adverse world reaction from making further public fanfare of its hangings. Its new technique, it is thought, is that whenever the Government has political scores to settle and wishes to make an end to adversaries, it adds a few Jews to the group being hanged in order to pretend that the sentences were for espionage.” Last Jan. 27, Iraq announced the execution of 14 alleged spies, of whom nine were Jews. Since then 30 more executions have been officially published, including two more Jews and 13 Iraqis, all on Aug. 25.