High Court Begins Hearings on Appeals by Deported Mayors

The Supreme Court opened its hearings today on the appeals by mayors Fahd Kawasme of Hebron and Mohammed Milhim of Halhoul against their deportation. The appellants remained confined to Ramle jail and their attorney, Felicia Langer, argued that the proceedings should not begin while they are absent from the courtroom. It was finally agreed that the two mayors would appear in court at the next session scheduled for Monday.

The courtroom was jammed with the families and friends of the deportees, members of their respective town councils, foreign and Israeli journalists and representatives of the Red Cross. Two Communist MKs, Meir Wilner and Charlie Biton, were also present.

The opening argument by Langer was that the deportation order against the mayors violated Jordanian law which still applies on the West Bank and was contrary to international law. The State, represented by attorney Dorit Beinish, presented an opinion which the high court has accepted in previous cases.

According to Beinish, while the Jordanian constitution prohibits the deportation of a citizen, the Supreme Court has held in the past that the emergency regulations of the Palestine Mandate superceded Jordanian law. The regulations, which apply in both Israel and Jordan, permit deportations for security reasons.

Langer countered by noting that in practice, the Jordanian authorities have not deported citizens since they give precedence to their constitution.

MAYORS END 10-DAY HUNGER STRIKE

Kawasme and Milhim ended their 10-day hunger strike yesterday. They said they did so out of respect for the Supreme Court which was about to hear their case. Meanwhile, a wave of demonstrations and stone-throwing incidents on the West Bank in support of the mayors caused the Military Government to issue stem orders to the population to desist. West Bank mayors were warned not to participate in any demonstrations.

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