By Aviva Lori (Ha'aretz)
November 2, 2007
On Friday morning, police officers arrested Avrohom Mondrowitz at his Jerusalem home, at the request of the international division of the State Prosecutor's Office and in cooperation with the Interpol unit of the Israel Police.
Mondrowitz is wanted in the U.S. on suspicion of sexual offenses against children in the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn, N.Y. between 1980-84. In the fall of 1984, he fled to Israel.
Two extradition requests have been submitted to Israel, one in 1985 and the second in September. Israel did not respond to the first request on the grounds that the extradition agreement between Israel and the U.S. did not allow for it. The most serious of the crimes of which Mondrowitz was accused, sodomy, was not an extraditable offense at the time.
Last January, a new extradition agreement was signed between the U.S. and Israel permitting extradition for any crime punishable by more than one year in prison.
On Thursday, Haaretz Magazine published an article about Mondrowitz's alleged offenses and victims. The latter are now men between the ages of 35 and 45 from Brooklyn. He was arrested the next day.
"We fear he'll flee again and disappear," police sources said, "that he'll go into Mea Shearim and then we'll never find him because there it's like looking for a needle in a haystack."
Can someone be extradited retroactively, according to the amended extradition convention?
"Extradition conventions are procedural, not material, there's a ruling on that," explained Irit Kahan, former head of the international division of the State Prosecutor's Office. "In extradition, we only transfer a person for trial and don't determine guilt or innocence, so someone can be extradited for offenses that were not and the list of extraditable offenses in the past and are now, even retroactively."
Mondrowitz is to be arraigned this afternoon.