UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Jan. 29)
Anger and indignation over Iraq’s secret trial and execution Monday of 14 persons continued to mount today. According to reports reaching here, the following developments have taken place:
In Vatican City, Pope Paul deplored the executions before a general audience of some 5,000, saying the hangings gave rise “to the suspicion that a part has been played by racist prejudice.” He said they had aroused “great dismay and execration” in the world. He said the executions “can perilously exasperate the very delicate situation” in the Mideast, and in a remark taken by some as an appeal to Israel not to retaliate, he asked for renunciation of a “spirit of vengeance.” The Pontiff had appealed in vain to Baghdad to spare the condemned men.
In Belgium, the League for Human Rights published a resolution calling the “murders” a travesty of justice and denouncing the “cruel practice of political trials which mostly serve as a means of eliminating adversaries.” The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, based in Brussels, appealed to United Nations Secretary-General U Thant in a cable to “take all appropriate action to ensure that such shameful deeds are not repeated.”
The Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Liberal communities of The Netherlands cabled the Dutch Government asking the UN to protect the Iraqi Jewish community and to appeal for visas for them to go to Israel or The Netherlands. A solidarity demonstration was scheduled in Amsterdam.
In London, Jewish businessman Issy Rondel was stabbed in the stomach by a member of the Iraqi Embassy during a scuffle after he planted two Israeli flags on the roof. The incident took place during a demonstration as 5,000 persons cheered his climb to the roof. He was hospitalized and was not in serious condition. Onlookers heard shots ring out as Iraqis dragged the flags down.
Members of Parliament headed by Sir Barnett Janner, placed a motion before the House of Commons expressing shock at the “medieval cruelty” and calling upon the Government to take immediate steps through the UN and other channels to safeguard the remaining Jews in Iraq and other Arab countries. A group of pro-Arab members of Commons organized by Laborite Will Griffiths sent a protest cable to Iraqi President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. Mr. Griffiths said he will make representations to save other prisoners.
In Geneva, Sean MacBride of Ireland, secretary-general of the International Commission of Jurists, said that the commission was “very perturbed” over the executions.