Hosam Amara, left; Zev Levi, right
U.S. prosecutors are waiting to hear whether Israel will extradite a former supervisor accused of some of the worst abuses of workers at a former Postville meatpacking plant.
Hosam Amara was arrested in Israel last spring on two-year-old U.S. charges of fraud and immigration offenses tied to the Agriprocessors scandal.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan said this week that Israeli authorities held an extradition hearing for Amara last Wednesday. He said a ruling was expected “in the near future. I don’t know what that means. ”
Deegan said Israeli authorities told his colleagues that Amara has been released from jail on bond, but Deegan didn’t know the details of the arrangement. He said Amara probably could appeal if the Israeli court orders extradition. After his arrest in March, U.S. authorities said an extradition hearing was scheduled for May. Deegan said he didn’t know why that date was delayed.
Many former Agriprocessors laborers said Amara was infamous for mistreating people at In 2008, the Agriprocessors plant was the site of one of the largest immigration raids in U.S. history. Critics said the kosher meatpacking plant’s supervisors took advantage of their workers’ status as illegal immigrants, forcing them to work unpaid hours and in unsafe conditions.
Before Amara was caught, Israeli officials said they would cooperate with extradition if American authorities could find him. A spokeswoman for the Israeli consulate in Chicago said this week that she was unable to obtain any information about the matter.
A second former Agriprocessors supervisor, Zeev Levi, also was believed to have fled to Israel to escape U.S. charges, but no information about his status has been released.