20 Iraqi Jews Given Exit Visas; Families of Executed Jews Either in Hiding or Have Left Country

Diplomatic sources here said today that 20 Iraqi Jews have been given exit visas by Iraqi emigration authorities. This followed reports last week that nine Jews imprisoned in Iraq since last fall were recently executed. The sources said that the families of three of the victims have reportedly left the country and the families of the other six were presumably hiding in Baghdad. The homes of the nine have been covered with signs reading, “The former residents have fled.”

The sources attributed the issuance of exit visas to a power struggle between the Iraqi secret police, the army and the general security services. They did not elaborate. The Union of Jewish Students meeting here last Thursday, protested the executions in a cable to President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr of Iraq.

PROTESTS AGAINST EXECUTIONS

(In Copenhagen, the Danish League for Human Rights cabled the Iraqi government today protesting the recent killing of nine imprisoned Jews. Signatories included Jens Lillelund, who the Danish Jewish community honored last year as a “friend of Israel.”)

(In New York, the American Jewish Congress has called on the government of Iraq to confirm or deny the reported executions. In a telegram to Abdul Karim al-Shaikhly, Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations, the AJCongres also called on Iraq to “publicly establish that the prisoners remain in safe custody and to provide immediate access to them by an impartial body such as the International Red Cross.” The telegram, signed by Judge Justine Wise Polier, vice-president of the AJ Congress, added: “Anything less will give credence to these reports and call forth upon your government the most severe condemnation for an act of barbarism and brutality that must shock the conscience of the world.”)

(A spokesman for the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that there was no information regarding the reported executions. In Washington, the State Department also said that it had no information.)

DISTURBING REPORTS OF TORTURE

(There has been no official comment in Israel on the reports of the executions. A source in Jerusalem said today: “Very disturbing reports have reached Jerusalem of the physical torture of the Jewish prisoners held in Baghdad and there is reason to believe that some of them are no longer alive. There are also reports of mass expropriation of property from the Iraqi Jewish community reminiscent of the confiscations which preceded the show trials and hangings (of Jews) in 1969.”)

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