TEL AVIV (Jul. 13)
Robert Manning, wanted in the United States on charges connected to a 1980 mail-bombing murder, temporarily avoided extradition to America at the airplane door Tuesday when his ill health prompted U.S. marshals and airline personnel to call off the transfer.
Police said Manning had swallowed 20 sleeping pills, smuggled into prison by his friends, to make him appear sick at the time of the extradition.
Later in the day, Manning was said by police to be conscious and in good condition.
Manning, 39, and his wife Rochelle, 51, who are American immigrants, are both wanted in connection with the California murder of secretary Patricia Wilkinson by a parcel-bomb addressed to her employer.
After learning at 3 a.m. Tuesday that preparations were being made to put his client aboard a New York-bound plane at 7 a.m., Manning’s lawyer rushed to Jerusalem to lodge an urgent appeal with the Supreme Court to stay the action, this time on grounds that the extradition should have taken place within 60 days of the time from when it was ordered.
But the court rejected the petition, stating that the delay had been caused by Manning’s own series of appeals to the court.
Meanwhile, Manning was being readied for the trip at his holding cell in Ramla prison with a medical examination by doctors and paramedics.
He complained of chest pains and a medical aide gave him tranquilizers to calm him.
However, Manning fainted and fell to the ground, sustaining slight injuries.
A prison warden reportedly decided to go ahead with the extradition anyhow, transporting him to Ben-Gurion Airport by ambulance and lifting him on a stretcher to the door of a TWA plane by a hoist used to raise incapacitated passengers.
But there, waiting U.S. marshals and TWA personnel refused to go ahead with placing him on the flight, saying they had not been warned to prepare for the transportation of an ailing passenger in need of special attention.
Manning was returned to the prison hospital and a police investigation was launched into the reports that he had obtained medication from friends to make him appear sick.