The murderer of taxi driver Derek Roth is on his way back to Israel, the international department of the State Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday. The Supreme Court of Argentina, where Moshe Ben-Ivgi fled, has ruled that he can be extradited to Israel for a robbery he committed while on furlough from prison.
Ben-Ivgi and his friend Arbel Aloni murdered Roth in Herzliya in 1994, when they were 14. In 1996 they were sentenced to 16 years in prison. In 1998, while on furlough, the two committed an armed robbery and were sentenced to an additional five years.
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In May 2004, Ben-Ivgi received another furlough and fled Israel for Argentina, where he was arrested a few months later. Israel asked that Argentina extradite him for Roth's murder, the robbery, and leaving the country. In 2007 a district court in Argentina ruled that he could be extradited for the robbery only, since Argentinian law stipulates that suspects cannot be extradited for fleeing their home country and because the age at which an individual can be held responsible for a crime is 16.
Moshe Ben-Ivgi in police custody. (Archive photo: AFP)
The international department of the State Prosecutor's Office appealed the ruling in Argentina's Supreme Court, while Ben-Ivgi appealed the extradition ruling. In 2009, before the Supreme Court handed down its decision, Ben-Ivgi fled but was again arrested for crimes committed in Argentina, for which he was convicted and given a prison sentence. He is due to complete that sentence at the end of 2013.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court in Argentina decided to back up the district court's ruling and extradite Ben-Ivgi for the robbery.
"The State Prosecutor and its colleagues in Argentina and in the Foreign Ministry are studying the ruling by Argentina's Supreme Court and the various conditions of the extradition. The decision will be taken in accordance with all the facts," the prosecutor's international division said in a statement.
At the moment, it appears that Ben-Ivgi will be extradited to Israel after he completes his prison time in Argentina at the end of 2013, and once in Israel will serve another five years.
Dr. Nissan Sharifi, the attorney representing the Roth family, said that it was difficult to discuss the matter because Roth's relatives had not made a decision about the extradition.
"We understand that they are extraditing him for the robbery, not the murder," Sharifi said. "Without a doubt, this is a morally reprehensible decision. It can't be that (Ben-Ivgi) fled Israel while serving a sentence for murder and won't continue serving his time when he's extradited."
According to Sharifi, "Many things are still unclear to us and we are waiting to see the full ruling."