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Brazil to extradite settler who fled Israel after killing Palestinian

Court decision comes two years after Yehoshua Elitzur was arrested in Sao Paulo, ending a decade-long manhunt

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Yehoshua Elitzur during his initial trial (screen capture: Channel 2)
Yehoshua Elitzur during his initial trial (screen capture: Channel 2)

The Brazilian Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to extradite an Israeli settler convicted of killing a Palestinian taxi driver in 2004, local media reported.

The decision came two years after Israel submitted an extradition request for Yehoshua Elitzur, who fled the country after being sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing Sael Jabara al-Shatiya.

Elitzur, 46, had been placed under house arrest in the Itamar settlement prior to entering prison, but managed to flee the country, first to Germany and later to Brazil.

After a decade-long manhunt, he was captured by Interpol and Sau Paulo authorities in June 2015.

Elitzur shot and killed Shatiya, from the Palestinian village of Salem, in September 2004 on the side of Route 557 near the Elon Moreh settlement.

According to the indictment against him, Elitzur flagged down Shatiya, 46, who was driving toward him in a van. Armed with an M-16, Elitzur stood in the middle of the road and demanded the Palestinian halt and get out of the car.

Poor road conditions prevented Shatiya from pulling over where Elitzur demanded, and he continued driving and began to pull over further down the road on the shoulder, at which point Elitzur shot and killed him.

Elitzur claimed that he had acted in self-defense, and that Shatiya was trying to run him off the road, but witnesses at the scene denied this claim.

He was initially accused of murder, but was convicted of manslaughter after prosecutors couldn’t prove he had intended to kill Shatiya.

Brazilian media reported that Elitzur entered the country using false identification.

Israeli intelligence and police representatives abroad assisted Interpol in its manhunt for Elitzur after putting out an international arrest warrant.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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