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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two Frenchmen suspects involved in Lee Zeitouni’s hit-and-run death in Tel Aviv to be charged in France

Eric Roubbi and Claude Isaac, French tourists whose car hit and killed 25-year-old Lee Zeitouni in Tel Aviv in September 2011 and fled to France after the accident, have been summoned to court hearings next month in Paris, where they will be charged with manslaughter, failing to assist a person in danger, and fleeing the scene of an accident.
According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, the hearings will take place September 3 and September 5. They face up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 euros. At the hearings, they will find out if they will be remanded until the end of legal proceedings.

Robic was driving the BMW 4x4 that hit Zeitouni on the corner of Pinkas and Weizmann streets in Tel Aviv. After the accident, the two fled the scene and managed to flee the country before their vehicle was located. Since then, the Israeli authorities have been trying to persuade French authorities to extradite them, but the state prosecutor and French diplomatic officials made it clear that this was impossible, since French law does not allow the extradition of French citizens to non-EU countries.
The two, who accepted responsibility for the crime, said they preferred to be tried in their own country, believing that they wouldn’t get a fair trial in Israel.

In January 2012, Haaretz reported that the two were repeat traffic offenders, who had been arrested several times for drunk driving or driving without a license, and have been involved in other crimes as well.

Also in January 2012, while speaking to a special session of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot said that a French law passed in 2004 prohibits the extradition of French citizens to any state that is not a member of the European Union.

When asked why Roubbi and Isaacs had not been taken into custody in France, Bigot said Zeitouni's family had not filed a formal request through the Israel Police to arrest the suspects.

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