Photo: Archive
Ron and Yuval Arad in 1986
Photo: Archive
Photo: Tzvika Tishler
Chen Arad
Photo: Tzvika Tishler

Germany to release 'last bargaining chip' for Ron Arad

German attorney general decides on release of Iranian intelligence officer without demanding information regarding fate of Israeli navigator captured in 1986 despite pleas by Arad's daughter, brother

BERLIN - Germany will release the Iranian intelligence officer and Lebanese murder convict currently incarcerated in Germany without seeking any information on the fate of kidnapped Israeli navigator Ron Arad.


German Attorney General Monica Harms said on Tuesday that in accordance with national law Kazem Darabi and Abbas Ra'il will be released in December.


Darabi, the Iranian officer, is considered the last bargaining chip in existence who terrorist groups may consider valuable enough to be willing to exchange information on Arad for.


The announcement followed a meeting between Harms and Arad's daughter and brother, who pleaded with her to condition the release of the two men on the release of any information regarding Ron.


Chen Arad noted with great sadness that 21 years after his brother's plane was shot down the family still had such little information.


In an impromptu press conference held at the attorney general's office in the southern German city of Karlsruhe after the meeting, Arad said that he respected Harms' decision.


"This is an Iranian operative who carried out an attack on German soil and who has already been sentenced. According to German law he is free to go after completing that sentence. There isn't any bargaining or deals here.


"We came to see if his imprisonment could be extended because his fate is tied to that of Ron's. We came here to see if that could be done. The attorney general was not duty-bound to see us and hear us out. She welcomed us graciously and showed goodwill," he said.


"She serves the law and if German law dictates that they can be released, then they will be released. Bargaining chips come and go – only Ron never comes back. We will keep fighting in the hopes that his matter will be resolved.


"Past deals have excluded Ron. It is inconceivable that the State of Israel would work to free a drug dealer while simultaneously neglecting Ron Arad. Twenty-one years after his capture, I just don't know where this will go," he said.


'We haven't seen new information from exchange'

A day after the swap between Israel and Hizbullah the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported that the information Israel received in the exchange were documents written by Arad shortly after his capture.

According to the report, the documents were what prompted Chen and Arad's daughter Yuval to embark for Germany.


"We heard the report but we haven't seen the information received… I cannot address something I have not seen," said Arad.


"I don't know the details of any deal, we will come home and examine what has been received from Ron and only then we will respond as a family. After 21 years this is not about midway dealings but only final

results. We will only know this is over when Ron comes home. The bottom line is that he is not here and we do not know where he is."


Yuval Arad declined to comment on the meeting with Harms but thanked the media for their continuing interest in her father's story.


Roee Nahmias contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 10.16.07, 19:12
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