NEW YORK (Nov. 8)
The State Department will now have to decide whether to extradite an Indian Jew to face criminal charges in India or all on him to remain in the United States U.S. District Court Judge Gerard L. Goetel today allowed Elijah Ephraim Jhirad to remain free on $50,000 bail pending the Department’s decision after certifying and turning over Jhirad’s file to the Department.
Jhirad, a Judge Advocate General of the Indian Navy for 18 years and a president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in India, has been the target of extradition procedures by the Indian government for four years on charges he misappropriated $1600 from India’s Naval Prize Fund. The 63-year-old Jhirad asserts that the Indian charges are politically motivated against him because of his outspoken defense of Zionism and Israel and because of his pro-Western, anti-Communist views.
ACTION WAS A FORMALITY
The turning over of the files by Goetel was a formality following the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to review Jhirad’s appeal. But Goetel noted that the U.S. government has not appeared in the case.
In continuing the bail on which Jhirad has been free for the past four years, Goetel noted that there is no law on whether someone awaiting extradition can be freed on bail. But he said if bail had not been allowed, Jhirad would have been in Jail for four years. The judge added that it should be kept in mind that there will be a new Administration in Washington soon and that India is presently in a state of political turmoil.
Jhirad was originally charged with 52 offenses which have been reduced to two. His attorney stressed today that the U.S.-Indian extradition treaty states that someone can only be tried for the specific charges upon which he is extradited and wanted the certification to the State Department to list only the two charges.
Jhirad’s bail requires that he remain free in the custody of Samuel Haber, honorary president of the Joint Distribution Committee. Haber, who worked with Jhirad in India in 1962-62 in setting up a JDC group there, was in court today.