JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab-Israeli immigrant to the United States who is serving a life sentence for murder has sued the U.S. government in a bid to be deported to Israel.
Elias Abuelazam, 37, a Christian Arab from Ramla, filed a lawsuit earlier this month in a Michigan federal court saying he committed a murder in Israel in 2009, months before he came to Flint, Mich., and stabbed a man to death.
“I have written letters to the Israeli authorities asking them to prepare the necessary warrants and extradition documents to bring me back to Israel where I will stand trial and be sent to prison,” Abuelazam said in the lawsuit, The Associated Press reported.
Abuelazam, who lived in the United States for several years as a child, reportedly was living legally in the United States on a green card obtained when he married a U.S. citizen. He was accused of killing three people in three U.S. states during the summer of 2010, and was arrested on Aug. 1 of that year in Atlanta after boarding a flight to Israel. He claimed that demons told him to commit the attacks, but a jury rejected the insanity plea.
Abuelazam was not tried for the other two murders because he was given a life sentence without parole in the Michigan case.
Ed Zeineh, Abuelazam’s attorney, said his client could serve his sentence in Israel if Israel would take him.
“I don’t believe this is a mechanism to get out from a life sentence,” Zeineh told AP. “Abuelazam was and is mentally ill, and I believe the structure of the correctional system in Israel is able to better treat mental illness.”