THE MEMORANDUM OF ACCUSATION AGAINST
The investigation of Isaac Picciotto revealed his actual involvement in the slaying of the servant of Priest Thomas Al-Capuci, which took place in the house of Yehya Meyer Farhi. Seven other Jews were also convicted in the records of the investigation.
First. The investigation of the slaying of the Priest Thomas Al-Capuci and his servant Ibrahim Amarah started with the examination of the public auction notices of the Al-Hakim Tranoba estate. These were the paper which Priest Thomas took with him after leaving his church, to mount them on certain places designated for this purpose. This was in accordance with what was recorded in the investigations minutes of Zul-Hijjah 4, 1255 H. It had been revealed before that the Barber shop keeper, Soliman Saloom, mounted the auction notice, he was arrested and taken to the Government Headquarters for questioning. Immediately, after the Barber's arrest, Khawaja Isaac Picciotto frequently visited the Government Headquarters. He had no logical or official business which
* This memorandum
was founded in Mansoortian's papers. He was married
to a relative of Hanna Al-Bahri Confident to Ibrahim Pasha during Ibrahim's
required his presence. These frequent visits inevitably drew the attention of everyone, including the Governor. When the investigation procedure started with the questioning of Soliman, the Barber, in the first session, (Zul-Hijjah 18, 1255 H) he confessed by giving the names of the seven men. He also confessed that Isaac Picciotto contacted him and asked him, "Did you confess anything?" When he answered, "No!", Isaac said, "That is what I expected from you," and left. Then Soliman, the Barber, said, "Had I known that he did not intend to intervene on my behalf, as he said that he would, I would have confessed earlier before I received my beating."
Second. The investigation minutes from the questioning of Murad Al-Fattal, David Harari's servant, on Zul-Hijjah 26, 1255 H. included the following: "On the morning of Thursday, the first day after the slaying of the Priest Thomas, five men included the following: Aaron Islambouli, Isaac Picciotto, Murad Farhi, Aslan Farhi, and Yehya Meyer came together in David Harari's house. The house where the Priest Thomas had been slain. These five are from the group of seven who were firmly convicted of slaying the Priest's servant. Isaac Picciotto's presence in the house of David Harari was established. He was a member of the group.
Third. It was stated in the above report that Murad Al-Fattal's testimony gave details of the event which took place when his master sent him with words of warning to Mura Farhi and Aaron Islambouli requesting them to take the necessary steps if the Priest's servant comes looking for his master. This was so that no one would be able to discover the secret of the Priest's murder. When Murad Al-Fattal went to Murad Farhi's house, he found Isaac Picciotto there with him. He delivered the warning while Isaac Picciotto was within hearing distance.
Fourth. In the above mentioned report, the testimony of Murad Al-Fattal states that the five men, whose names are listed above, were in his master's house on Thursday, and that Isaac Picciotto was with them. They were talking while standing in front of Meyer Farhi's house when the Priest's servant passed by in search of his master. They said to him, "Enter, your master is inside giving smallpox vaccinations to the children." When he entered they took hin, and slew him in the same manner in which they had slain the Priest. His body was disposed of in the same manner as well.
Fifth. The same report details Murad Al-Fattal's answers to Khawaja Beauden. He insisted that Picciotto was with Murad Farhi, that Picciotto walked side by side with Murad, and he (Al-Fattal) told both of them regarding the case of the Priest's servant.
Sixth. The minutes of the investigation on Friday, Muharram 3, 1256 H. included the following: Khawaja Isaac Picciotto was summoned to the Governor General's Office for questioning. When he refused to confess he was challenged by the servant Murad Al-Fattal, and he argued with him regarding all the occasions that he himself had witnessed regarding Picciotto's case. Picciotto denied all accusations. Then Al-Fattal was warned at the fact that "It is not our purpose to throw wild accusations here and there, but to tell the truth." The servant still insisted on the truth of his testimony.
Seventh. The contents of the above report, on the same day, involved the questioning of Al-Fattal as to the place of the disposed remains of the servant's body. The servant Murad Al-Fattal identified the place, and then he said, How could Mr. Picciotto deny, and try to clear himself when he himself was at the evening party on the evening of Thursday, only one day before the arrest of the Priest's murderers in David Harari's house. He sent for his uncle Rabbi Jacob Abou Al-Afieh, who was later discovered to be a member of the group of seven, who participated together in the slaying of the Priest Thomas. On the evening of the party he told them that, "The Barber has confessed today and he has mentioned your names. I think that you are going to be arrested tomorrow." Isaac Picciotto knew this because of his frequent visits to Government Headquarters, as has been stated earlier. At that point of the servant of Murad Farhi came and asked Picciotto to come by his master's house after the slaying when he would leave for his house. He stood up and headed towards David's house. It was about in the evening. The group requested him to inform them of the reason behind Murad's call and to send his servant in order to dispel their concerns. Picciotto later on sent his servant back with words that there was nothing to worry about. On the next day, Friday, Aaron Harari went to Isaac Picciotto's house and hid for two or three days. This caused his brother to think that he had been arrested. When Aaron came back home, they asked him about where he had been hiding. He told them that he was in Isaac Picciotto's house. While they were talking about this they were arrested, as has been stated in today's report.
Eighth. The Investigation Report of Muharram 8, 1256 H. Murad Al-Fattal was questioned regarding his mission to warn the group to entice the Priest's servant into the house and slay him. His testimony was matched in all details including the statement that Isaac Picciotto was with Murad Farhi when he delivered the warning.
Ninth. The, Investigation Report of Muharram 9, 1256 H. stated that the servant of Murad Farhi (Isaac Al-Bullas) was brought for questioning, and he testified that he came in response to orders from his master (Murad Farhi) to request Isaac Picciotto to come to David Harari's house. This took place about or little shortly after. Isaac Picciotto went to the house directly after this message.
Tenth. On the same day, the report states that the servant of Isaac Picciotto, Yehya Biziti, was brought to the investigation and he confessed that his master, Isaac Picciotto, went to Murad Farhi's house at four o'clock, in the evening, or shortly after, and that Picciotto sent him back to David Harari's house to dispel the group's concerns regarding the events which had taken place.
Eleventh. According to the Report of Muharram 13, 1256 H. the Barber Soliman was questioned as to what he knew about the case of the Priest's servant. He testified that Isaac Picciotto participated in the slaying of the servant Ibrahim Amarah. That he had knowledge from the Harari's servant who was involved in the process of getting rid of the Priest's body (the servant had taken part in the slaying of the Priest's servant also). When the confession was completed, the testimonies of both men were exactly the same in spite of the fact that they were separated from one another in their detention places during their internment.
Twelfth. In the report of the same date it became clear through the confession of the Barber and the servant of the Harari's house that they both knew about the crime due to their participation in the crimes. The Hararis' servant was questioned and he confessed to his actions. He also confessed that he attended the slaying of the Priest's servant by assisting in holding him down at the time of the slaying. He stated that Meyer Farhi and Murad Farhi slew the servant with their own hands. Also he named those who were present, including Isaac Picciotto, who, he said held down one of the servant's feet during the slaying. Among those present were Aslan, the son of Rofael, who held the other foot as previously stated in the Investigation Report of Muharram 13, 1256 H. He further stated that the slaying took place before Isha in Meyer Farhi's house.
Thirteenth. The Investigation Report of Muharram 14, 1256 H. In this report it is stated that Aslan, the son of Rofael Farhi, requested from His Excellency, the Governor General, to give him immunity from persecution and to grant him a pardon, so he could confess all without fear. When he received immunity from the Governor General he confessed to his own part, naming those who had taken part with him in the slaying of the Priest's servant. He wrote by his report in his own hand. It matched exactly in all details the testimony given by Murad Al-Fattal. He stated that Isaac Picciotto held one of the victim's feet, and he held the other. He explained the slaying of the victim in details confirming that the slaying was completed between the sunset call to prayer and the Isha call to prayer, at Muallim Rofael's house, a notable in the Jewish Community. All of Picciotto's answers confirmed his attempt to escape from the facts that implicated him and constituted proof of his guilt.
Fourteenth. The Consul of Austria to
On the basis of this and with the written authorization in hand, Isaac Picciotto was summoned for his questioning regarding the murder of the Priest's servant. The investigation established that Picciotto was one of those involved in the murder, and an arrest order was issued to detain him for investigation.
However, His Excellency, the Governor General received notification that Mr. Picciotto was being detained in the Consul's house. This was neither proper nor legal detention because there were a large number of Jews visiting the Counsul's house, and it is not known whether this was to meet with Mr. Picciotto or with Assistant to the Consul, who was a Jew himself, thus preventing the Committee from being able to verify whether they would be able to conduct their inquiry without this interruption. It was feared that the Jewish community was trying to bring about the Consul's intervention to dismiss the accusation of Jews and declare their innocence, in spite of the clear fact of their involvement.
The support which
Isaac Picciotto received caused him to behave in a very crude manner. He
dismissed all available evidence of his complicity as being lies. On Friday he
made it known that he received a message from His Excellency the General
supporting his stance for dismissing this case against the Jews. His
interpreter, Joseph Zananiri went to the Jewish
Quarter delivering the good news of this, and it become known that he collected
money to publish and announce the good news. Then he received a message from
When Isaac Picciotto received the Khedevi's message he called a group of Jews to take a copy of it and present it to the Governor General, Sharif Pasha, so he would know that the Jews of Damascus had learned that they had been absolved from the crimes which is to say that the Khedevi did not believe the truth of the accusations against them.
Because the Jews of Damascus, however, were fully aware that it was impossible to refute, or challenge, the established and recorded findings of the investigation, they refrained from carrying the copy of that message to the Governor General. But, a Rabbi volunteered to deliver the message in response to the "wishes" of the Austrian Consul, Mr. Merlato, after asking the permission of the English Consul, Mr. Woody. This Rabbi, then at that time, had witnessed personally the freedom enjoyed by those arrested since their families, relatives, and even servants were frequent visitors to the accused ones in their detention place. This is what the Jews wanted to show from their movement, which was designed to show that they could achieve their goals over any obstacles. Thus, it is not unusual that they held fast to their denials which they had agreed to among themselves and thus ignored their confessions and testimony even when these were in their own handwriting because they knew that these denials were in their best interests in spite of the great crimes to which they had confessed. According to their religion and which they had acknowledged these crimes which caused them to be dissenters of their own religion as had been revealed in their holy books, which forbids them to commit murder in accordance with their own laws.
We presented our observations by our reliance on
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