Israeli civil rights attorney, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant AG Leslie Caldwell, requesting the Department of Justice extradite Hamas West Bank commander, Saleh al-Arouri, for his role in the kidnapping and murder of American citizen Naftali Fraenkel.
Al-Arouri, who runs the U.S. deemed terror group in the West Bank from Turkey, was seen on a video last week, addressing the fourth conference of the World Union of Islamic Sages in the Islamic Republic, and “boasting” that Hamas’ Qassam Brigades had carried out the June kidnapping and killing of Fraenkel and Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrach and Gil-ad Shaar.
According to The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center near Tel Aviv, “He read his speech, saying that he was speaking on behalf of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.”
Darshan-Leitner, Founder and Director of the Shurat HaDin–Israel Law Center, a non-governmental organization (NGO), cites the aforementioned video in her letter to the Attorney General. She asks the Department of Justice to “take all necessary steps to compel the government of Turkey to extradite” as well expresses confidence “that an investigation into the evidence of the kidnapping and murder of Fraenkel will result in the indictment and extradition of senior Hamas leader al-Arouri from Turkey.”
Pursuant to the Treaty of Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between both the U.S. and Turkey, the Islamic Republic is legally bound to extradite al-Arouri if he “committed a criminal act that would be punishable by Turkey, had the offense been perpetrated within its territorial jurisdiction,” wrote Darshan-Leitner. “The US is the only country that can bring Arouri to justice.”
While Israel also has an extradition agreement with the Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent history of anti-Semitic comments and anti-Israel proclamations makes any Israeli extradition attempts futile.
Al-Arouri has a history of “violent terrorist activities” that has led to multiple prison stunts in the Jewish State.
As reported by the Guardian, Matthew Levitt, an analyst with the Washington Institute, claims “al-Arouri was forced to leave Israel in 2010 after serving more than 15 years in prison for actions related to his Hamas membership. He lived in exile in Syria until the unrest during the Arab spring, when he moved to Turkey.”
The suspected mastermind of the kidnapping and murder of the teenagers Hussam Kawasame, was arrested on July 11. Israel is looking for two additional suspects, Amar Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme.
Attempts to contact the office of AG Eric Holder were unanswered as were calls to the Judiciary Committee.
Paul Miller is a contributor to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Follow him on Twitter @pauliespoint