Jews Charged with Acre Prison Break Face Death Penalty; Topee Refuse to Plead
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Jews Charged with Acre Prison Break Face Death Penalty; Topee Refuse to Plead

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Three of the five Jews being tried here for participation in the Acre prison break on May 4 today refused to plead, asserting that the military court was without jurisdiction. The two other defendants pleaded not guilty. The proceedings were then adjourned until Friday to give defense counsels ##er Levitsky and Max Kritzman time to prepare their case. All five face the death sentence.

Those who refused to plead are: Jacob Weiss, 23; Abshalem Habib, 20; and Meir Nakar, 21. Amnon Mikhaloff and Nachman Zitterbaum,both 18, entered not guilty pleas. When asked to plead, Habib started to read a statement. The court directed him to stop, and when he attempted to continue ordered him seated forcibly. Habib stested: "If you call this a court why do you not give me the opportunity to speak."

The prosecutor told the court that when Habib was arrested on the scene of the jail break he told the officer that he was "only an observer for the Haganah." the trial is expected to last about two weeks and the prosecution has indicated that they will call about 40 witnesses.

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