Sex offender in custody after extradition from Argentina

Defendant convicted of several offenses in 2008, but fled to South America before sentencing.

arrest  311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
arrest 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
The Tel Aviv District Court ruled on Thursday that a convicted sex offender extradited from Argentina will be remanded in custody for the duration of the legal proceedings against him.
The defendant, who cannot be named because of a media gag order, escaped from house arrest and fled to Argentina in 2008, after his conviction in the Tel Aviv District Court on six charges of rape and sexual assault against his two daughters, daughter-in-law and another woman. At the time of his escape from custody, the defendant was awaiting sentencing.
When the Israeli police issued an international arrest warrant for the defendant, Argentinean authorities launched an extensive manhunt.
They arrested the defendant shortly afterward as he tried to cross from Argentina into Brazil. Israeli authorities then filed an extradition order, which was granted but delayed when the defendant appealed against it in the Supreme Court. Finally, in November, the defendant changed his mind and submitted voluntarily to extradition procedures.
The defendant was extradited on Tuesday and state prosecutors immediately moved to file a request to remand him in custody for the duration of legal proceedings against him. The defendant will now be sentenced for the offenses the court convicted him of in 2008.
In a hearing in the Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday, Judge Zion Kapah also partially lifted a media gag order that prevented any details of the proceedings being published.
During the hearing, attorney Avi Cohen, defending, said that that defendant should not be remanded in custody even though he previously escaped from house arrest, because he agreed to be extradited to Israel.
The defendant also spoke in court, saying that he had been wrongfully convicted and that he intended to bring new evidence and appeal against his conviction in the Supreme Court.
“This is an injustice and an evil fabrication and I would like to bring my evidence, and I cannot do that if I am in prison,” the defendant said, as he explained why he had decided to submit to extradition. “In Argentina I had communities who supported me financially but I could not rest, I could run all over the world but I could not escape myself. I came home to Israel to fight for my freedom.”
However, in remanding the defendant for the duration of the legal proceedings against him, Kapah said that the defendant had been convicted of sex offenses against several victims of different ages and there was a danger he would reoffend.
The judge ordered the next stages of the case to proceed as a matter of urgency.