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Okamoto Trial Opens Monday in Rehovoth

Kozo Okamoto, the Japanese “kamikaze” gunman captured in the Lydda Airport massacre will go on trial in Rehovoth Monday before a three-member military tribunal, it was announced today. The names of the three trial officers were not disclosed and it was not known whether any of them are lawyers. Under Israeli law, a military tribunal may impose the death penalty, provided that at least two of its members are lawyers.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today that Jacob Hagler, a prominent Tel Aviv lawyer, has been appointed by the Lawyers Council to act as defense counsel for Okamoto. The Council named Hagler after Attorney General Meir Shamgar asked it to select a defense attorney. it was learned that Okamoto did not ask for a lawyer but agreed to accept one. He has reportedly told his jailers that he wished to be executed and that he felt he should have died with his two companion gunmen in the Lydda attack.

Sources here said the Okamoto trial would be opened officially Monday but would not actually get underway for some time for technical reasons.

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