The weaponry and other equipment displayed in the courtroom included high-powered rifles with telescopic sights, women's handbags filled with ammunition, protable radios, 12-gauge shotguns, straight razors, knives, machetes, throwing stars, garrotes and a cross-bow.
The weapons were displayed in two special wheeled cases that were covered with plexiglas to ensure that no one could get at them. The handbags were placed in rows on a table. Suitcases lay on the floor.
In the tones of a conjurer setting up his audience for a trick, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark H. Tuohey III said:
"I'm going to ask the two officers to take the paper off the carts so we can identify the weapons item by item over the next day and a half."
With that, two Metropolitan police officers removed the paper, and the weapons allegedly used by seven Hanafi Muslims in taking over the international headquarters of B'nai B'rith on March 9 were revealed before the jury.Tuohey then began the laborious task of having Officer Larry T. Munsey of the Metropolitan Police crime scene examination unit identify each item.
The display came as the trial of 12 Hanafi Muslims on charges of murder and kidnaping in the takeover of three Washington Buildings entered its fourth week. Besides the headquarters of B'nai B'rith, the Jewish service organization at 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, the locations involved were the Islamic Center at 2551 Massachusetts Ave. NW and the District Building at 14th and E Streets NW.
In all, 149 hostages were taken. One person was killed by a shotgun blast at the District Building and several persons were injured there and at the other two locations.
All the weapons displayed in court yesterday were said to have been collected at the B'nai B'rith building. The Hanafis allegedly hired a U-Haul truck to transport most of their arsenal and used a taxicab to move the rest of it.
The equipment included at least 35 knives, two hatchets, one of which was a Boy Scout model; seven pistols, including one .357 Magnum; seven rifles, four shotguns, 10 chains and one punji stick.
According to earlier testimony, several shots were fired at the B'nai B'rith building, but no one was injured by them. Several persons were stabbed or slashed there, according to testimony. Others were slugged with pistols or fists.There has been no testimony that the cross-bow was used.
The 12 Hanafis are accused of embarking on the sieges in furtherance of a plan to compel authorities to turn over to them five Black Muslims convicted of murdering seven members of the family of Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, 55, alleged leader of the group, in January, 1973.
Numerous witnesses have testified that the Hanafis threatened to behead them if their demands were not met. Presumably, the garrotes, of which three were seized, could have been used for that purpose. A garrote is a length of wire or strong cord with a handle at each end. The cord or wire is looped around a victim's neck from behand. It is than pulled tight with the handles, causing death.
There was no apparent use for the punji stick. These devices were widely used in the Vietnam war. They consist of a piece of bamboo or similar material with a sharpened end. In Vietnam, they were hidden upright along trails. Soldiers who stepped on the sharpened end, which sometimes had been coated with poison, received a disabling wound.
Because of what officials regard as the danger presented by the Hanafis, extraordinary security measures have been put into effect around D.C. Superior Court since the trial began. Judge Nicholas S. Nunzio, who is presiding ruled at the beginning that no weapons would be permitted to be taken into the courtroom, even by police officers and deputy U.S. marshals.
When Officer Munsey, the crime scene specialist, appeared in court yesterday he was wearing his service revolver. Nunzio directed him to remove it.
Prior to unveiling the physical evidence taken at B'nai B'rith headquarters, Tuohey and Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin J. Linsky, the second prosecutor in the case, began to put on their case concerning the takeover of the Islamic Center.
Three Hanafis allegedly took hostages there. They are Abdul Rahman, 37, also known as Clyde Young; Abdul Rahim, 26, also known as Phillip Young, and Abdul Al Qawee, 22, also known as Sanuel Young. The three are brothers.
Dr. Abdul-Rahman Osman, deputy director of the Islamic Center, testified that he had seen Rahim and Rahman at Friday prayers in the center's mosque on several occasions prior to the siege.
In fact, Osman said, he had just finished his noon prayers on March 9 when he heard noises that he went to investigate. He said he was taken prisoner when he used his key to get into an office where he heard shouting. It was then, he said, that he realized that he had previously seen two of his alleged captors.
In all, he said, four men and seven women were held at the center. Like the captives at B'nai B'rith and the District Building, they were not released until the early hours of May 11.
Other witnesses yesterday included Musha Ara, 18, a native of Bangladesh who is a secretary at the center, and Fauzia Bayoumi, another secretary. Miss Ara said she was released on the afternoon of March 9 after the Hanafis had made several telephone calls.
The matter of telephone calls is crucial to the government's contention that all 12 Hanafis were acting in furtherance of a conspiracy. It is also crucial to their efforts to prove that all 12 are guilty of felony murder in the first degree -- that is, murder committeed during the perpetration of another crime, in this case kidnaping. Felony murder in the first-degree carries a mandatory penalty of 20 years to life imprisonment.
Dr. Osman and Mrs. Bayoumi testified that the Hanafis at the Islamic Center referred all outside calls to Khaalis, who was at the B'nai B'rith building.
Mrs. Bayoumi was asked by Christopher Hoge, attorney for Abdul Rahman, if she knew of the Hanafi Muslim "sect."
Khaalis, the alleged leader, immediately tapped Harry T. Alexander on the back to signal that he should object to the use of the word "sect" rather than "religion."
Mrs. Bayoumi replied that she had never heard of the Hanafis and that there is "only one religion of Islam."