WINTERTHUR, SWITZERLAND (Dec. 1)
Two police officers and a lieutenant of the Zurich airport fire brigade testified today against Mordechai Rachamim, the El Al security guard who gunned down one of four Arab terrorists attacking an Israeli airliner at the airport last Feb. 18. Rachamim is on trial for manslaughter and faces a sentence of up to five years imprisonment. His lawyer, Hans Meisner, managed to discredit part of the testimony given by the prosecution witnesses by demonstrating that it contradicted statements they had made during the earlier preliminary investigations.
The case hinges on whether Rachamim shot the Arab terrorist deliberately or in self-defense. The Israeli told the court last week that the Arab was carrying a Kalachnikof automatic rifle and made what appeared to be a threatening gesture before he opened fire. The prosecution witnesses testified today that the terrorist was unarmed at the movement he was shot. Lt. Hans Henig, of the fire brigade said that when he arrived on the scene he saw Rachamim shoot an Arab who had his hands in the air. The defense attorney however quoted a previous statements by Henig which indicated that he could not have seen the shooting because he was wrestling at the time with an armed Arab.
A member of the Zurich Cantonal police force testified that he held the Arab terrorist at gun point at a range of less than a yard when Rachamim fired three shots at him in rapid succession. On cross examination, Mr. Meisner brought out the fact that the policeman had made contradictory statements the day after the shooting and again several weeks later before the investigating magistrate. Another policeman, Rufolf Jaeger, admitted under cross examination to more than a dozen contradictions between his earlier statements and the testimony he gave in court today.