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Alon Mahluf. Claims innocence
Livni to plea for Israelis' lives
Photo: Amit Shabi
Livni to appeal to Thai counterpart on condemned Israelis' behalf
Foreign Ministry announces it will speak to Thai king if necessary in effort to save Israelis sentenced to death for drug offenses. Relatives of one trafficker worried ill mother may die if she receives news

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has become personally involved in the case of the two Israelis who were convicted of drug trafficking in Thailand and sentenced to death.

 

Her office said Tuesday that "Livni will act on all levels and if necessary she will even speak to the king to clarify our stance to the Thais."

 

Livni has announced that she plans to speak to her Thai counterpart after he returns from a visit to Peru. Her office said there was time to appeal the sentence, though no progress had been made yet.

 

Vladimir Akronik, 34, and Alon Mahluf, 37, were arrested one year ago for possession of 23,000 ecstasy pills. Mahluf's brother Shalom told Ynet that he was concerned about how the case would affect their 78-year old mother, who had suffered a stroke. "We disconnected her TV, because if she hears it may kill her," he said.

 

Shalom, 50, is one of 11 Mahluf siblings. The last time he spoke to his brother he was in prison, awaiting the sentence. "When I spoke to him he said he would be released, no problem," he said. "No one expected this sentence."

 

Mahluf added, "I was at a number of hearings and they didn't prove anything. We don't believe he committed the alleged crimes. Alon doesn't even have a criminal record."

 

The Mahluf family turned to Livni for help. "We'll turn this country upside down to get him out of there as soon as possible. He is an Israeli, a Jew, born here. The State has to take care of him. When I visited him in prison it was filthy. He has a room but he told me the food is horrible, there is no shower and no hot water," Mahluf said.

 

Yael Levy and Ilana Curiel contributed to this report

 

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