Dr. Charles T. Fenyvesi suffers from a diabetic condition that requires him to take food every four or five hours. Otherwise, he faints. He fainted on the first afternoon that Hanafi Muslims held him hostage at the international headquarters of B'nai B'rith, the Jewish service organization.
"I told a guard I was about to pass out and I did pass out," Fenyvesi testified yesterday in D.C. Superior Court. Then, he said, "two women (hostages) found an orange, which turned out to be rotten. They pushed it in my mouth and I recovered. I munched on the orange and recovered."
Fenyvesi, who edits a publication for B'nai B'rith, was one of more than 100 persons held prisoners by Hanafis at the organization's building at 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW for 39 hours beginning March 9. He was testifying at the trial of 12 Hanafi Muslims charged with murder, kidnaping and conspiracy in the takeover of the B'nai B'rith headquarters and two other buildings in the city.
He was asked if his diabetic condition caused him to become "woozy," whether it interfered with his perceptions of events.
"Not that I can observe," he said. "When I pass out, I pass out plain, from one moment to the next."
Did he and other hostages receive food after the fainting incident? asked Charles Kubinski, attorney for Abdul Shaheed, 23, also known as Marvin Sadler.
Yes, said Fenyvesi, on two occasions.
Did the lack of food cause him to faint again? Kubinski asked.
"No, and I'm glad to report that," Fenyvesi replied.
Most of Fenyvesi's testimony, like that of other witnesses in the trial, concerned the takeover, rather than his medical condition. He told the jury of nine women and three men that he had been taken hostage on the eight floor of the building, that a Hanafi whom he identified as Abdul Hamid, 22, also known as Hilvan Jude Finch, had struck him in the eye with the barrel of his gun and then struck him in the mouth with his fist.
He said he remembered Abdul Shaheed as a man who had stood guard over the hostages and who was "always doing this" - the witness imitated a man holding a rifle sweeping the muzzle around a room.
He identified all seven of the Hanafi who allegedly staged the B'nai B'rith incident, including Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, 55, alleged leader of the group.
Much of the testimony since the trial began May 31 has described the surprise, confusion and terror experienced by those caught in the building by the Hanafis.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martin J. Linsky and Mark H. Tuohey III, the prosecutors, also have elicited much testimony about how much the hostages at B'nai B'rith learned during the siege about other takeovers the Hanafis allegedly carried out during the same period.
On Wednesday, Henry M. Siegel, another B'nai B'rith employee, testified that the captives learned first about the capture by Hanafis of the Islamic Center at 2551 Massachusetts Ave. NW and then about the takeover of the District Building at 14th and E Streets NW.
There was testimony on the same aspect of the case yesterday. The prosecutors are seeking to prove that all 12 Hanafis acted in concert at the three locations. This necessary if they want to prove the crime of conspiracy. It is also necessary to support the legal theory under which all 12 defendants are charged with murder in the shooting death of one person during the District Building takeover.
The indictment charges that all 12 Hanafis commited these crimes as the result of conspiracy to force officials to turn over to them five Black Muslims convicted of murdering seven members of Khaalis' family in January, 1973. Another demand was that the film "Mohammad, Messenger of God," be removed from this country.
Although many prosecution witnesses have testified that Khaalis made statements to the hostages about the murders, little further information about this possible motive for the takeovers has been brought out on cross examination.
Instead, some defense attorneys have elicited testimony about antisemitic views expressed by the Hanafis. According to witnesses, their captors said, among other things, that Jews are responsible for the failure to punish the convicted murderers in a manner the Hanafis deem appropriate.
Harry T. Alexander, a former Superior Court judge who is representing Khaalis, the Hanafi leader, repeatedly had gotten witnesses to say that Khaalis also spoke of the notoriously antisemitic "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and of the past terrorists activities of Menachem Begin against the British and Arabs in the period when the State of Israel was being born. Begin is now the prime minister of Israel.
In a statement similar to those given by several other witnesses, Paul Green, a B'nai B'rith hostage who had his cheek bone broken by a Hanafi gunman, told the jury in response to a prosecutor's question that Khaalis had told the captives that "the Jews are responsible for the ills of the world, that we should be prepared to die, that they (the Hanafis) were soldiers in a holy war, that they were prepared to die and that more civilians die in a holy war than soldiers.
Some have testified that the antisemitic remarks they heard were more personal. Sandra F. Rosen, who gave first-aid to another hostage who had twice been stabbed and who was struck in the eye herself, told the jury that Abdul Adam, 31, also known as George W. Smith, said to her once: "I see the hate in your eyes, you Yahudi (Jewish) whore, and when we go to work on you, you'll be sorry."