Israel: Maryland teen-ager can be extradited
Appeal planned in murder case
October 20, 1997
Web posted at: 1:56 p.m. EDT (1756 GMT)
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A 17-year-old murder suspect can be extradited to Maryland because he is not an Israeli citizen, Israeli prosecutors said on Monday. But, despite that ruling, the issue of where Samuel Sheinbein would face trial, Israel or the United States, remained unresolved.
Sheinbein's defense attorneys said they would appeal the Israeli decision at an extradition hearing, which must be held within the next 60 days.
Privately, sources say the fight is about keeping Sheinbein out of an American prison and, if convicted, allowing him to serve his time in Israel.
Timetable for extradition unclear
The chief prosecutor for Montgomery County, Maryland, Robert Dean, said it was uncertain when Sheinbein -- from the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland -- might actually be sent back to the United States.
|Robert Dean explains what happens next:
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"We were given a best-case scenario of four to six months for the return of Samuel Sheinbein," said Dean.
"We were given a worst-case scenario of two years," Dean told a news conference in Rockville, Maryland. "We don't think that scenario serves the interest of speedy justice."
Explaining their decision to allow extradition, Israeli prosecutors decided that Sheinbein, who has never lived in Israel, is not an Israeli citizen even though his father is.
His father's citizenship wasn't contested, a fact defense attorney David Libai said he will use to fight extradition. "Under the law that should make this boy an Israeli," he said. Under Israeli law, citizens cannot be extradited.
Grisly September murder
Sheinbein is accused of killing Alfredo Enrique Tello, 19, found burned with his arms and legs cut off. The mutilated body was discovered in Silver Spring on September 18, a few days before Sheinbein fled to Israel.
Israel's initial refusal to extradite Sheinbein had strained Israeli-U.S. ties. Congress held back on releasing a $75 million aid installment for Israel, in part because of lawmakers' anger over the Sheinbein affair.
If Sheinbein is not extradited, he would be tried for the Maryland murder in Israel. His lawyers have said he prefers to be tried in Israel because he believes prison conditions there would be better for him.
Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walter Rodgers
contributed to this report.