Erdogan delays extradition request for Israeli prisoner

Erdogan delays extradition request for Israeli prisoner

Guy Hassid, arrested in 2010 for human trafficking, is suffering abuse in Turkish prison, says lawyer

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prison bars (photo credit: CC BY libertygrace0, Flickr)
Prison bars (photo credit: CC BY libertygrace0, Flickr)

An Israeli man, arrested in Turkey for human sex-trade trafficking, is still waiting to be extradited to Israel two years after his capture by Turkish police, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.

Guy Hassid, 39, was arrested two years ago in Turkish-occupied Cyprus following an international request by Israel to apprehend him on suspicion of trafficking women for the sex industry and money laundering. Investigations found that Hassid, who is married and has a son, was part of an Israeli crime ring that trafficked young women from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Uzbekistan to work in the Cyprus sex trade .

“His transfer to Israel has changed from a legal matter to a political matter,” said Hassid’s attorney Mordechai Tsivin.

Although a Turkish court has approved his transfer to Israel, the move must be personally approved by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, so far Erdogan has avoided signing the release apparently due to the still seething relations with Israel over the Mavi Marmara incident in which nine Turkish citizens were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the ship as it headed towards Gaza.

Tsivin said that representatives from the Israeli consulate in Turkey have visited his client and that, with his mental and physical health failing, Hassid is considering suicide. According to Tsivin, Hassid is in a cell with Muslim prisoners who are abusing him because he is Israeli and Jewish.

Hassid agreed to the extradition and an Istanbul court ordered that he be transferred to Israel, but the final approval from Erdogan has not been forthcoming despite repeated requests from the Israeli Justice Ministry.

Other members of his ring have already received various sentences in Israel of up to 10 years in prison.

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