Israeli leader favors Md. trial But he tells Glendening law must take course on teen's extradition

November 08, 1997|By Ann LoLordo | Ann LoLordo,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Gov. Parris N. Glendening yesterday that he had "no qualms" about quickly returning a Maryland teen-ager to America to stand trial on a murder charge, but that the extradition is in the hands of the courts.

Glendening, who is visiting Israel on a trade mission, asked Netanyahu to do whatever he could "in the full context of Israeli law" to expedite the return of Samuel D. Sheinbein, 17, of Wheaton.

Sheinbein fled to Israel Sept. 19 to avoid trial in the murder of a Montgomery County youth. He has been in jail here since his arrest in late September, when U.S. officials alerted Israel that he was wanted in the murder.

"If we could, this man, this boy, this person would be in the United States yesterday," Netanyahu said during a meeting with Glendening and Maryland business, civic and Jewish leaders. "We are trying to resolve this as quickly as possible."

Glendening brought up the Sheinbein case about midway through the meeting, during which the two officials also discussed trade, the economy and the peace process.

Sheinbein is fighting his return to Maryland under an Israeli law that prohibits the extradition of Israeli citizens. Sheinbein is claiming citizenship through his father, Shlomo Sheinbein, who was born in 1944 in what was then British-mandate Palestine, before Israel's founding.

The case is problematic because of the circumstances surrounding the elder Sheinbein's citizenship. Israel's Attorney General, Elyakim Rubenstein, ruled Oct. 19 that the teen-ager was not a citizen and could be returned to the United States.

His lawyers are fighting his extradition in court.

Glendening thanked the prime minister for Israel's cooperation. He spoke of the brutality of the crime of which Sheinbein is accused -- the body of Alfred Enrique Tello Jr. was burned and mutilated.

"It is the sense of many of our citizens the quicker we can bring this to a conclusion, the better off we will be," Glendening said.

Netanyahu told the group, "I have no qualms about extraditing him [Sheinbein] sooner." But, he said, "Israel is a country of due process."

If the courts rule that Sheinbein is an Israeli citizen, he will be tried here, as Israeli law permits, Netanyahu said.

"From my point of view, he should be there," referring to Maryland. "not here," he said.

Glendening said he expects the extradition process to take at least a year and probably longer, not unlike similar cases in the United States.

Pub Date: 11/08/97

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