The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice to indict the five terrorists who have been arrested by Israeli security forces for their suspected role in the deadly terror attack that killed Rabbi Eitam Henkin, an American citizen living Israel, so they could be tried in the U.S. for their crimes against an American citizen. The U.S. State Department confirmed that Rabbi Henkin, who was murdered together with his wife Naama in their car in front of four of their young children on October 1, 2015, was indeed a U.S. citizen.
The NCYI urged the U.S. Department of Justice to bring charges that carry the death penalty against the five Hamas terrorists responsible for Rabbi Henkin’s murder: Ragheb Ahmad Muhammad Aliwi, Yahia Muhammad Naif Abdullah Hajj Hamad, Samir Zahir Ibrahim Kusah, Karem Lufti Fatahi Razek, and Zir Ziad Jamal Amar. Following an indictment, the Justice Department can request that Israel hand over the terrorists to the United States for prosecution in an American court.
Pursuant to the Koby Mandell Act, which is U.S. law, the Justice Department was required to establish the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism, which has the capacity to prosecute Palestinian Arab terrorists that have murdered Americans overseas and are subsequently released from incarceration abroad. Section 2332 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which discusses criminal penalties, states that someone who murders a national of the United States, while such national is outside the U.S., shall be “punished by death or imprisonment for any term of years or for life, or both.”
“In the wake of a brutal terrorist attack in Israel that claimed the life of an American citizen, the United States has a duty to act swiftly to indict the terrorists and request that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are transferred to American soil to face charges that could result in the death penalty or lifetime incarceration in an American prison,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “The Koby Mandell Act, which provides a legal mechanism through which the U.S. can bring these terrorists to justice, has unfortunately never been properly complied with. The horrific murder of Rabbi Henkin and his wife compels the U.S. to exercise its legal obligation to bring the terrorists to justice in the U.S. and to mark the first time that it carries out the mission set forth in the Koby Mandell Act.”
“If Israel was to hand over these murderers to the U.S., it would send a clear message to future terrorists that if you kill an American citizen, you will be subject to the American justice system,” continued Weiss, an attorney who has worked on this issue for nearly two decades. “Simply stated, they will not be released by U.S. prisons, they will not be pardoned, nor will they have their prison sentences commuted. If these terrorists are bought to the U.S. soil to face justice, it will help deter future terrorists as they will then know that they will never be released in any prisoner exchange.”
Weiss noted that this solution has been used successfully by other countries, such as Mexico and Columbia, which have effectively employed this tactic against their drug cartel kingpins, who are sent to U.S. jails, obviating the pressure of future terrorist attacks by the cartels to release them.
“The Koby Mandell Act, which was named for an Israeli-American victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, was enacted for this very type of case,” said Weiss. “An American indictment and a request that Israel transfer Rabbi Henkin’s killers to the U.S. is certainly warranted under the Koby Mandell Act.”