Last updated: 8 May, 2012

Israel still seeks to try alleged hit-and-run killers

Israel is still pursuing efforts to extradite two French nationals suspected of involvement in a fatal hit-and-run incident that killed an Israeli woman last year, the national police chief said Tuesday.

Speaking at a conference of international police agency Interpol in Tel Aviv, Yohanan Danino said Israel had not submitted a formal request because of legal complexities.

Outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged in February that the family of 25-year-old victim Lee Zeitouni would get justice if it lodged a complaint in France, but stressed there could be no exception to French law prohibiting the extradition of its citizens to non EU-countries.

“We did not make a formal request because such a request would have started a process in France and they would have been tried in France,” Danino told reporters at a press conference with senior Interpol officials.

“Our aim is try all options in order for the process to take place here in this country,” he said.

“We are doing everything, together with the (Israeli) ministry of justice. The justice minister is involved and the attorney general.”

“I don’t want to go into more detail, I just want to say that we are dealing with it.”

Zeitouni was hit by a speeding car on a Tel Aviv street in September last year and left to die. The vehicle’s occupants fled to France.

Interpol secretary general Ronald K. Noble said the agency’s task was to ensure that Israeli and French authorities had “all the police-related information so that the critical decision, the judicial decision, on whether or not to extradite someone, can be made.

“The countries know where the people are, they know all the allegations,” he said.

“Interpol has done its part for the moment.”