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Journalist Gets 5-year Jail Term

July 12, 1978
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Panayotis Paschalis, a leftwing Cypriot journalist, was sentenced here last Friday to five years imprisonment for trying to aid the Palestine Liberation Organization by providing it with classified information about Israel. The court found him guilty of obtaining maps, photographs and statistical data about Israel which he transmitted to PLO contacts in Cyprus. His Israeli colleague, Hans Lebrecht, a journalist and leading member of Rakah (Israel’s Communist Party), was acquitted of charges that he helped Paschalis obtain the material.

In its ruling, the court by a majority vote found Paschalis not guilty on the charge of aiding an enemy, which carries a life sentence, as it felt the term implied a country in a state of war with Israel. The court said this definition could not be applied to the PLO. The court unanimously agreed that although Lebrecht helped Paschalis collect the material he did not intend to harm the State and had no knowledge of Paschalis’ intentions.

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