Background: How extradition works in Israel

Because of Israel's Extradition Law, the public will know within 48 hours what the charges against the Abergil brothers and their accomplices are. According to the law, from the moment Israeli police arrested Yitzhak and Meir Abergil, Moshe Maloul, Yisrael Uzifa and Sasson Barashi early Sunday morning in accordance with a request from US authorities, they have 48 hours to bring them before a magistrate's court to request an extension of their remand in custody. At the hearing, the police will have to explain to the judge what the basic allegations against the suspects are. According to Irit Kahn, former head of the International Section of the State Attorney's Office, now that Israel has arrested the five in accordance with the US request, American authorities are obliged to ask for their extradition and must do so within 60 days. In the meantime, the court may extend the remand request for 20 days at a time. This means that the suspects could be brought before the magistrate's court twice more before the US presents the extradition request. The request itself must provide prima facie evidence strong enough to indicate that there is sufficient reason to send the suspects to the US to face trial. If the Justice Ministry is satisfied with the US request, it will ask the district court to extradite them. There is no limit to the amount of time such a hearing may go on before the court reaches its decision. Furthermore, if the district agrees to the Justice Ministry's request to extradite them, the suspects may appeal to the Supreme Court. According to Kahn, it is clear that Israel and the US have been working together on the Abergil case for some time. This is the second instance in which the two countries have cooperated in an effort to send a senior Israeli underworld figure to prison. The first was Zev Rosenstein, who was extradited to the US and convicted of distributing ecstasy pills, purchased in Europe, in the US. In the Rosenstein case, the court ruled that since the main element of the crime was committed in the US, the US was entitled to ask for his extradition and try him there. It is almost certain that the same logic applies to the Abergil case. The Extradition Law stipulates that since the suspects are Israeli citizens and residents (except for Meir Abergil) Israel may only extradite them if the US agrees that if they are tried and convicted, it will allow them to serve their time in an Israeli prison.