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Rakah Central Committee Member Arrested; Charged with Maintaining Contacts with Hostile Elements

January 23, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A member of the central committee of the pro-Moscow Rakah Communist Party was arrested at his home last Wednesday night and detained for allegedly maintaining contacts with “hostile elements” while studying in Moscow three years ago. It was disclosed today. The suspect, Ghazi Shbeita of Telbah village near Kfar Saba, spent a year in the Soviet Union on a special fellowship from the Soviet Communist Party, studying political economy. He was remanded in custody for five days by a Ramie magistrate last Thursday.

Police had requested a 14-day remand. Mrs. Felicia Langer, Shbeita’s defense counsel, said he was detained because he had met with Mahmoud Darwish, a former Rakah member who defected to Egypt, while in Moscow in 1970. Mrs. Langer said other Rakah members had also met with Darwish who was expelled from the party several years ago because of deviant “political ideas.”

Rakah charged today that the arrest of Shbeita was a deliberate “provocation” intended to “poison the atmosphere against the Party in Arab villages on the eve of the elections.” Three Rakah Knesset members–Meir Wilner Tawfic Toubi and Avraham Levenbrum–have cabled Premier Golda Meir demanding the immediate release of Shbeita. Levenbrum’s son, Ram Livneh, 27 was one of two additional Jews arrested Jate last month in connection with a Syrian-directed. Arab-Jewish spy and sabotage ring. Four Jews had been arrested earlier.

The Rakah Knesset faction charged today that police who searched Shbeita’s home seized personal belongings including copybooks and notes he took in Moscow during his studies there three years ago.

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