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Witnesses at UN Committee Hearings in Beirut Describe Alleged Torture by Israelis

A Palestinian guerrilla who spent two years in an Israeli jail, told a United Nations special committee in Beirut yesterday that he was mistreated and was personally aware of other prisoners being subjected to cruel torture. The testimony was presented by Ahmad Khalifa, a 33-year-old former English literature student at Cairo University, who served with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He said that a few hours after his capture by Israeli authorities he was beaten and hanged from a metal bar by his wrists. His testimony and that of others was released today by the UN office of Public Information. The three-member UN committee, headed by Ambassador Hamilton S. Amerasinghe of Ceylon, is investigating alleged violations of human rights in the Israel-occupied Arab territories. It is presently conducting hearings in Beirut and will go to Damascus tomorrow. Israel has refused to admit the group to its territory, because the group is involved exclusively in investigating Arab conditions but refuses to investigate conditions of Jews in Arab countries.

Mr. Khalifa gave the investigators the names of Arab prisoners who, he said, received worse treatment than he and who are still in Israeli prisons. He also gave the names of Israelis who allegedly inflicted torture. “I consider myself mistreated rather than systematically tortured,” the former student said. He claimed personal knowledge of other prisoners being beaten with cables and shocked with electric charges. He said one man died from beatings. Ambassador Amerasinghe said “every effort” would be made to check out Mr. Khalifa’s charges and the accusations made by other witnesses. Another witness, Professor George Dib, an assistant professor at Beirut University who admitted that he has not been to the Israel-occupied Arab territories, charged Israel with individual and collective murder and torture of civilians in the territories. Mr. Dib described himself as an advisor to the Institute for Palestine Studies. He said the Institute has systematically studied the situation through two survey teams, one of which he was a member, which collected reports including information from Israeli sources such as Knesset debates, the Israeli press and radio.

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