JERUSALEM (Jun. 18)
The prosecution agreed today to reduce charges against another suspected member of the Jewish terrorist underground among the 22 currently on trial for murder or other acts of violence and planned violence against Arab civilians.
The suspect, identified only as defendant No. 16, is the fourth among the 27 men originally indicted to confess to lesser offenses. One of them, Noam Yinnon, who was tried separately, was sentenced a week ago to 18 months imprisonment after plea bargaining. Two others, Gilad Peli and Yosef Zuria, were convicted last Thursday and await sentences.
As a result of plea bargaining, the Prosecution submitted a new chage sheet against defendent 16 accusing him of conspiracy to commit a crime and illegal possession and transfer of weapons in connection with a plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque, Islamic shrines on the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem. Charges of membership in a terrorist organization and damage to army property were dropped.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Capt. Aharon Gilla for release from custody pending trial. He and another army officer, Maj. Shlomo Levytan, have been implicated in the car bombings that maimed two West Bank mayors in June, 1980. They will be tried separately from the other suspects.
The trial of the 22 suspects opened in district court here yesterday. The court is considering a defense motion for a three month postponement and is expected to rule favorably inasmuch as the prosecution has offered no objection.