Israeli man jailed in Thailand for running an illegal medical clinic, as well as possessing illegal firearms and drugs, was on Sunday extradited to Israel.
Nati Haddad was convicted in 2017 and 2018 on a series of charges and sentenced to over four years in prison. He will serve the rest of his sentence in Israel.
Haddad relocated to Ko Samui, Thailand’s second largest island, several years ago where he opened an unlicensed medical clinic, which he claims was meant to help Israeli tourists who have fallen on hard times.
In July 2017 he was arrested on charges of operating an unlicensed clinic and possessing illegal firearms and ammunition and was sentenced to 18 months to prison.
Later he was also indicted for possession of illegal and expired drugs in the clinic he operated. In December 2018 he was sentenced to additional four years and four months in prison.
Haddad landed at Ben Gurion Airport in the early hours of the morning and was taken to Ayalon Prison in Ramla.
The Israel Prison Services said he underwent a coronavirus test before boarding the plane to Israel, which came out negative. "The complexity of escorting a prisoner during coronavirus is several times greater than the same operation during routine time," said the IPS in a statement.
Thai authorities approved the extradition a months ago following a campaign by Israeli diplomats, including President Reuven Rivlin, who personally sent a request to Thailand's king, Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Haddad himself asked to be extradited shortly after being sentenced due to difficult prison conditions in Thailand, despite not having a permanent residence in Israel - one of the main criteria for extradition requests.
In March 2019, Ayelet Shaked and Gilad Erdan, former justice and internal security ministers respectively, approved Haddad's request.