JERUSALEM (Jul. 2)
The Supreme Court Thursday rejected an appeal against extradition by William Nakash, an Algerian-born Jew convicted and sentenced in absentia by a French court three years ago for the murder of an Arab in Besancon, a city in northeastern France.
But Nakash’s lawyer, Ronald Rot, has appealed to Premier Yitzhak Shamir not to sign the extradition order and has written to French President Francois Mitterrand to nullify Nakash’s conviction and allow him to stand trial in Israel.
Shamir, who is acting Interior Minister since the resignation of Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz of the Shas Party last year, has intervened on behalf of Nakash in the past. The fugitive also has the support of a vociferous lobby of rightwingers and Orthodox Jews who oppose the extradition of any Jew from Israel as a matter of principle.
Justice Minister Avraham Sharir originally rejected the French extradition request. But he reversed himself last month at the insistence of Attorney General Yosef Harish and after he was ordered by the Supreme Court to show cause why extradition should not be carried out.
The case may now become a contest between the Supreme Court and the Chief Rabbinical Council, which ruled against extradition on grounds that it would make Nakash’s pregnant wife an “agunah” — an abandoned woman unable to remarry under religious law.