France to open criminal probe of Zeitouni killers

Hayat, Rubic will be investigated for alleged aggravated manslaughter and failure to assist persons in danger, AFP reports.

By
July 11, 2012 22:43
1 minute read.
Hit-and-run victim Lee Zeitouni

Hit-and-run victim Lee Zeitouni 311. (photo credit: Courtesy: Facebook)

 
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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.

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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 situation.”

“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.

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Ruth Eglash contributed to this report

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