HomeAfrica-NewsCase against 8 Israeli men postponed, media barred from court

Case against 8 Israeli men postponed, media barred from court

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  • The case against eight Israeli men arrested last week during a sting operation has been postponed until Thursday.
  • The men appeared at the Randburg Magistrate Court on Monday.
  • They are charged in a criminal case along with a parallel extradition case against defendant number one.

The trial of eight Israeli men arrested in a sting operation last week has been postponed until Thursday.

The men made a brief appearance at the Randburg Magistrate Court on Monday.

They are charged with drug possession, unlicensed firearms, stolen property, and violation of the Electronic Communications Act.

Linked to the criminal case against the eight men is the extradition of the number one defendant, Yaniv Yossi Ben Simon, Israel’s most wanted suspect, who has been on Interpol’s red list since 2015.

Phindi Mjonondwane of the National Prosecution Authority said the extradition case would be in court on Thursday and the criminal case would be back in court on November 28.

She said the two cases would run parallel.

The extradition process will be before the judge to determine whether the extradition complies with the terms of South Africa’s treaty with Israel.

CLOCK | A ‘Sniper Van’, a Jammer and Drugs: Internal Arrest of Israel’s ‘Most Wanted Fugitive’

Mjonondwane said that if the court finds that Ben Simon is extraditable, the decision rests with Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.

The big decision is whether to extradite the 46-year-old or, if convicted of crimes in South Africa, have him serve a sentence in South Africa before he is extradited.

Mjonondwane said the court would look to the case of Radovan Krejcír for guidance.

The Czech crime boss is serving 35 years in a South African prison. He too was sentenced to 15 years in the Czech Republic and that country is still seeking extradition.

On Monday, the court ruled that both cases involving the Israeli men would be heard behind closed doors, with the media excluded from the proceedings.

Mjonondwane said the state and the defense objected to the media’s request to witness the cases.

She said the court made the decision in the interest of security and because of the “sensitivity” of the information.

READ | Tight security ahead of court appearance for Israel’s ‘most wanted’ man

As Mjonondwane briefed the media waiting outside the court, three men, who had been inside the courtroom, took photos of her. He made a joking comment about safety off the pitch.

As in the case of Ben Simon’s appearance on Friday, some members of the military and additional police officers went to the court to reinforce security.

Ben Simon is wanted in Israel for attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

During Thursday’s arrest, authorities found weapons, drugs, stolen property, cash and other paraphernalia associated with the drug trade.

Police also believe the men are involved in a hit-for-hire operation.

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