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3 Greek Catholic Church Prelates Arrive in Israel from Lebanon to Study Charges Against Capucci

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Three prelates of the Greek Catholic Church crossed into Israel from Lebanon today to learn from the authorities here details of the espionage and sabotage charges against the Greek Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem Hillarion Capucci, who was arrested Sunday. The three will meet tomorrow with Dr. Shaul Colbi, senior Christian Affairs official in the Ministry of Religion. It was not known if they would visit the Archbishop in jail. Reportedly he has been visited by the Vatican’s representative in Jerusalem, Apostolic Delegate William Carew.

Police sources reported that Archbishop Capucci was cooperating in his interrogation and had guided his interrogators yesterday to various sites in and around Jerusalem which served as depositories of arms and explosives for the terrorists.

A senior Justice Ministry source assured the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the decision to arrest the prelate implied that the legal process of trial and sentencing would be carried through to the end. After sentencing however, assuming he is convicted and jailed, legal observers believe it likely that he would be deported. The Archbishop does not hold a Syrian passport, it is now reliably learned, but has a Vatican diplomatic passport. This does not render him immune from prosecution on the serious charges of which he is suspected.

The three prelates from Lebanon are the Archbishop of Latakia, Syria, Butrus Ashkar, 81; the head of the Basilian Order at Alleppo, Syria, Butrus Saman; and the cleric Habib Basha.

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