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    VISNEWS filmed Feb 7 the public trial of Major-General Umar Ali, at the continuing session of the military courts martial in Bagdad.

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    VISNEWS filmed Feb 7 the public trial of Major-General Umar Ali, at the continuing session of the military courts martial in Bagdad. Formerly Commander of Iraq's First Army Division during the Nuri es-Said Regime, he is principally accused of conspiring to overthrow leaders of the Republican coup of July 14 last year. He pleaded not guilty.

    Prosecutor, Colonel Majid Mohammed Ameen said the Major-General had been chosen to protect and maintain the Nuri Regime. "He was harsh and violent. He did not hesitate to commit the worst possible crimes or steal (State) funds.... He personally tortured (Republican) Nationalists." The prosecutor demanded the death sentence.

    Army officer witnesses told how Ali, their superior officer, planned a drive on Bagdad to prevent the coup. The public frequently applauded as the indictment and testimonies were given.

    The Major-General is the latest principal defendant brought for trial by the officially-termed "People's Court"- opened one month after the coup to purge the Republic of supporters of the previous regime.

    Many of the original accused - there were 108 on the list - have been tried and others are awaiting trial.

    At another military court held in secret, Colonel Abdul Salem Aref, a hero of the July 14 coup, and ex-Prime Minister Rashid Ali Gaylani have been sentenced to death, Bagdad Radio confirmed this month.

    Aref, deputy leader of Kassem's officer movement carrying out the coup in which King Feisal and Prime Minister Nuri es-Said were murdered, was sentenced to be hanged. The court recommended mercy. Aref, once tipped to become the new Republic's first Prime Minister, represented the pro-Nasser element seeking to enter the UAR.

    Gaylini who led the German - supported revolt in Bagdad 1941 returned to Iraq last September after 17 years in exile. He was given a hero's welcome at the airport..Neither he, Aref nor the other political leaders of the old regime have been executed, as far as is known. Extracts of the secret trial of Aref have been broadcast despite an earlier announcement that the proceedings would not be revealed "in the cause of Arab unit".

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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