Capucci Will Not Be Permitted to Have Foreign Defense Lawyer

Archbishop Hillarion Capucci, accused of smuggling arms to terrorists as the envoy of the Fatah organization, will not be able to hire a foreign lawyer to defend him Israeli law does not permit foreigners to appear as lawyers in a court trial except for cases in which the defendant may be facing a death sentence, such as was the case in the Eichmann trial when a German lawyer was permitted to defend him.

Capucci, head of the Greek Catholic Church in Jerusalem and the West Bank, admitted over the weekend that he acted as a courier for the terrorist group, according to government sources. The Archbishop made his admission not only to his Israeli interrogators but also to the Apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and to the three Greek Catholic prelates who arrived last Wednesday in Israel from Lebanon. The prelates were representing the head of the Greek Catholic Church, Patriarch Maximus V who resides in Beirut. The Greek Catholic Church nominally accepts the Pope’s authority and is not part of the larger Greek Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Maximus announced over the weekend in Beirut that he intends to hire a foreign lawyer to defend his colleague. If he does so in spite of Israeli law, the foreign lawyer will be able to act only as an assistant to Israeli lawyers who will appear in court, according to authoritative sources.

Police, who arrested Capucci Aug. 18, are completing their investigation of the Archbishop. In broadcasts over Israeli radio and television, the police disclosed some of the evidence of Capucci’s guilt. They took this extraordinary measure of presenting evidence to the public before presenting it to the court in order to counter anti-Israel propaganda abroad and to confirm that Capucci was not arrested without cause.

The three Greek Catholic prelates met last Thursday evening for more than an hour with Capucci in the Beith Shemesh prison where he is being held. The three emerged from the meeting expressing anger and refusing to talk to journalists. Their anger was attributed to the fact that police attended the meeting despite their request that they meet privately with Capucci. Police brought Capucci clothes, prayer books and candles.

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