A Paris court opened an investigation into the two French nationals accused of involvement in the hit-and-run accident which killed 25-year-old Lee Zeitouni in Tel Aviv last year, AFP reported Wednesday, citing a judicial source.
According to the report, Claude Isaac Hayat and Eric Rubic will be investigated for alleged aggravated manslaughter and failure to assist persons in danger.
The two men fled to France after hitting Zeitouni with their car and abandoning her in September 2011. French law prohibits authorities from extraditing the men to Israel, but they can face trial and be imprisoned in France.
France’s ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot several months ago assured a Knesset panel that justice would be served in the case.
“There is no indifference in France, we are ready to judge them
and we want to judge them, we don’t see it any other way,” stated the French
ambassador, who was speaking at a special hearing of the Knesset Committee for
Aliya, Immigration and Diaspora.
“France passed a law in 2004 that says
clearly that it cannot extradite its own citizens except to countries that are
members of the European Union. Israel is not yet a member of the EU, that means
we cannot extradite them to Israel, just like we cannot extradite French
nationals to the US, Canada, and Switzerland. There are no exceptions to this,
whatever the crime is and whatever the country. This is the legal
“This is the
situation that we face,” said the ambassador addressing both politicians and
Zeitouni’s life partner, Roy Peled, who has launched an awareness campaign
against the two men.
Ruth Eglash contributed to this report