Verdict Awaited for Second Japan Bochur


japan-bochurimYaakov Yosef Greenwald, one of the three bochurim arrested in Japan on drug smuggling, is awaiting his verdict, which will be handed down today (Japan time), Wednesday, in Japan. The prosecution is seeking a thirteen-year sentence and a $50,000 fine – a much stiffer sentence than Yosef Bando, Yosef ben Ita Rivka, the youngest of the three bochurim, received, as Yosef was not a  minor at the time of his arrest.

The verdict is being awaited just two weeks after Yosef Bando was flown to Eretz Yisroel to serve the duration of his sentence in an Israeli jail. Yosef was sentenced back on April 30 to 5-8 years in jail and a $40,000 fine.

Yosef Bando, Yaakov Yosef Greenwald and Yoel Goldstein have been in the tefillos of Yidden around the globe since being arrested in Japan for unwittingly trafficking drugs into the country.

As has been reported extensively here on, the story began in April 2008 when the three bochurim from Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak – two under age 20 and one under age 18 at the time – were asked to transport some antiques from Holland to Japan. The ‘friend’ who asked them for the favor offered them $1,000 each and assured them that everything was legal.

Once in Amsterdam, they were given the “antiques” – concealed inside false-bottomed suitcases. Told that this was a precaution against theft, they once again suspected nothing, and flew on to Tokyo. In Japan, the false bottoms were quickly detected and broken into by customs officials – who found not antiques, but $3.6 million worth of Ecstasy pills.

The third trial, that of Yoel Goldstein, Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava, won’t start until after Pesach.

{Yair Israel}