WINTERTHUR, Switzerland (Dec. 16)
The cantonal prosecutor today demanded a two year prison term for the El Al security guard, Mordechai Rachamim, and 12 years at hard labor for three Arab terrorists on trial here in connection with the attack on an Israeli airliner at Zurich Airport last Feb. 18. Mr. Rachamim’s defense counsel will sum up his case on Wednesday.
The Prosecutor, Dr. Oscar Birch, rejected Mr. Rachamim’s plea that he fatally shot a fourth Arab terrorist, Abdel Muhsen, in self-defense and demanded that the nine-man jury and three judges find him guilty of “premeditated homicide while under the influence of passion.” He urged the court to find all three Arabs guilty of premeditated murder in the attack which cost the life of a young Israeli pilot trainee, Yoram Peress.
The prosecutor contended that Mr. Rachamim could not possibly have acted in self-defense because all police and other witnesses testified that the Arab was unarmed at the time he was shot. Dr. Birch stressed the gravity of the attack on the El Al plane and its consequences.
The case against Mr. Rachamim rested on the testimony of cantonal police officers who contradicted the defendant’s testimony that the terrorist was brandishing a weapon. Dr. Hans Meiser, who until last week was Mr. Rachamim’s chief defense lawyer, claimed that the officers’ testimony was at variance with statements they made during the pre-trial investigation. He accused the police and the court of lack of impartiality in the case. Mr. Meiser was subsequently fired by Mr. Rachamim who said he was opposed to the attorney’s court room tactics.