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Kahane Indicted in Israel for Conspiracy to Commit Crimes in U.S. Faces 7 Years Imprisonment

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State Attorney General Gabriel Bach told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that he was relying on a recent Supreme Court decision in a hotel robbery case for the legal precedent to convict. Jewish Defense League leader Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Kahane was indicted here Friday for conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, arson and other crimes in a friendly foreign country. Jerusalem District Court Judge Avinoam Eden remanded him in custody pending trial. Bail was denied.

Kahane had been in custody 25 days prior to the indictment with no charges preferred against him. The charges detailed in Friday’s indictment relate to an alleged conspiracy by Kahane with persons in the United States to commit acts of violence intended to force the cancellation of Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev’s visit to the U.S. last month.

According to the indictment the acts included the murder and kidnapping of foreign diplomats, blowing up and setting fire to buildings and illegal telephone taps-acts prejudicial to Israel’s relations with a friendly state, in this case, the U.S. The charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment.

INDICTMENT BASED ON INTERCEPTED LETTERS

The indictment was based on evidence contained in letters written by Kahane to persons in the U.S. which were intercepted by Israeli authorities. Kahane has not denied writing the letters. He claimed in court however that all of the charges related to Brezhnev’s visit which was now over. Bach, in urging the court to deny bail, said that targets other than Brezhnev were mentioned in Kahane’s letters and argued that the accused could not be trusted not to engage in conspiracy if released.

According to Bach, the case against Kahane will hinge on the legal definition of conspiracy. Kahane’s lawyers are expected to argue that sending letters does not constitute conspiracy. Bach told the JTA that he will cite a Supreme Court decision announced two weeks ago in the case of a hotel employee who conspired with others to commit robbery but pulled out of the scheme while his co-conspirators went ahead with it without his knowledge. He was nevertheless indicted and found guilty with the others. Bach said the verdict, which the high court upheld, was an important legal precedent with regard to conspiracy.

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