Defense tries to stop testimony from Israeli terror survivors (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Nathan Guttman WASHINGTON 05/29/05)
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WASHINGTON - The defense team for four American Arabs on trial for
suspected involvement in terror attacks asked a Florida court on
Thursday not to let the Israeli witnesses testify at the trial´s
Prof. Sami al-Arian, a computer lecturer at South Florida University,
and three others are facing charges of aiding Islamic Jihad, which is
responsible for dozens of terror attacks against Israelis.
The prosecution wants to open with testimony from several witnesses
from Israel, including survivors of terror attacks, members of
bereaved families and police officers.
The defense wants to avoid these testimonies at the very beginning of
the trial, to prevent swaying the jurors´ opinions before the
prosecution has established a connection between the defendants and
the terror attacks.
U.S. District Court Judge James Moody agreed with the defense that
before the testimonies are heard the prosecution must prove that the
suspects took part in plotting attacks and knew they would lead to
murder. He also said these testimonies are more shocking than useful.
But, in view of the prosecution´s insistence, Moody said he would
decide only after the trial begins.
Arian and the other defendants are charged with transferring funds
and messages to Islamic Jihad leaders for more than a decade. They
also openly supported attacks in which both Israelis and Americans
were killed, the charges say.
The prosecution said it intends to summon some 50 terror survivors,
17 Israeli police officers and 18 rescue team members to testify at
the beginning of the trial on June 6.
The prosecution also plans to screen in slow motion a film recently
made in Florida showing a controlled explosion of a bus. "We want to
show what happens when someone blows someone up," the prosecutor said.
(© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 05/29/05)
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