Israel backs down on fugitive's extradition case

Israeli fugitive ‘Shay’ Moslie during his extradition case at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in 2016. Picture: Antoine de Ras/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Israeli fugitive ‘Shay’ Moslie during his extradition case at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in 2016. Picture: Antoine de Ras/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jun 23, 2018


Johannesburg - The extradition case against an alleged Israeli fugitive, Shay Moslie, has been withdrawn, although details remain scarce as to exactly why. Moslie’s extradition hearing began in October 2015, after the Israeli government sent through papers detailing Moslie’s alleged crimes.

Accused of being the director of an Israeli crime organisation, the initial papers - seen by the Saturday Star - said he and eight other members were sought by Israeli police to be tried for their roles in the murders of rival gang members.

In October 2011, a suspected member of the gang and friend of Moslie, Avi David, was murdered in the city of Bat-Yam in Israel.

The first charge against Moslie relates to the alleged conspiracy to murder the suspected head of a rival gang, Moti Hassin, who Moslie believed was responsible for David’s murder.

A member of Moslie’s gang, who has since turned State witness, told investigators Moslie had asked that he assassinate Hassin with a sniper rifle on December 24, 2011.

members of Hassin’s organisation, Ohad Franco and Daniel Samara, who were killed in a drive-by shooting on February 20, 2012. Lastly, Moslie has also been charged with conspiracy to kill Moshe Okanin, a former business associate, but he later abandoned the assassination plot.

However, while these charges were put to him in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court as early as 2015, the case has dragged, with Moslie’s defence team claiming the papers submitted were not admissable, with at least two other altered versions submitted to the court in the intervening years.

On Thursday, after a three-month postponement, prosecutor Christo Steyn said he and his colleagues had received word from the Israeli government asking that the extradition case against Moslie be withdrawn. Steyn asked that the court honour the request.

Moslie’s defence team - some of the country’s most prominent lawyers, Lawrence Hodes, Anton Katz and Ian Levitt - argued that the court would have to do more than simply withdraw the case. Katz asked that the court formally discharge the case through section 10(3) of the Extradition Act, which meant that should the Israeli government reinstitute the extradition hearing against Moslie, a new court would have to take into consideration the current court’s decision.

However, magistrate Pravina Rughoonandan said that based on the slow progression of the case, she had not ruled on the admissability of the papers submitted to her from the Israeli government. This meant, therefore, that no evidence had technically been submitted to the court, and thus the hearing had not begun in earnest. “The matter against you is withdrawn. You are free to go,” she ruled.

While the defence team did not succeed in a formal discharge, Levitt said his client was still pleased at the closure of the hearing. “It’s still a major victory. As is evidenced by the court’s ruling, it’s clear there was never a case against our client,” he said.

It remains unclear why the Israeli government withdrew the hearing against Moslie.

The Saturday Star

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