Men Charged in Tel Aviv Hit and Run Want French Trial

Carla Bruni Letter Says Case Should Be Moved to France

By Haaretz

Published December 29, 2011.

Claude Isaacs and Eric Roubbi, two French nationals accused of killing Lee Zeitouni in a hit-and-run case in Tel Aviv last September said Thursday that a trial held in Israel would be unfair.

Michel Apelbaum, one of Roubbi’s lawyers, spoke to Haaretz following the publication of French First Lady Carla Bruni’s letter to the Zeitouni family to argue that the case should not become an international media circus, and instead should be moved into a French court, rather than an Israeli one.

According to Apelbaum, the accused want to be judged in France, but that no trial can go forward since the Israeli authorities have not made a request for France to look into the case.

“We need to be very clear on one point — and this point is that the Israeli government has not asked the French government to take any jurisdictional action against my client. If they really wanted to see this case in front of a judge, they could ask the French minister of justice to take action against these men. But the Israeli government has not done this until now,” Apelbaum said.

“I cannot let people say that my client is hiding, or running away from his responsibilities. That is not true. As soon as they came here to France, we wrote to the ministry of justice in France to say they were waiting for a call from a French judge to resume their responsibility here. We cannot initiate an investigation. There needs to be a complaint.”

“But the Israelis have not asked the French to start any procedure. The Israelis have asked to send them to Israel, but this is not possible — a country will not send its own citizens to another country. It would be the same for Israel. If an Israeli, say, had a similar accident in Thailand, for example, and then returned home — Israel would not send them back.”

For more, go to haaretz.com



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