WARSAW - An accused Mossad agent charged with involvement in the slaying of a Hamas leader in Dubai asked on Monday for a Polish court to send him to Israel instead of extraditing him to Germany.
The suspect, who goes by the name Uri Brodsky, was arrested in Warsaw in June on a European warrant charging him with espionage and with helping to falsely obtain a German passport used in connection with the January 19 slaying of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, which has been widely blamed on Israel. On July 7, a district court ordered his extradition to Germany on the forgery charges only, meaning that he could only be tried in Germany for forgery and not spying.
The judge argued that Poland cannot extradite Brodsky on espionage charges because espionage against Germany is not a punishable crime in Poland.
That decision would have spared Israel a potentially embarrassing high-profile espionage trial. Both Brodsky's lawyers and the prosecutors - who want him extradited on the entirety of the charges - have now appealed the July 7 ruling.
One of Brodsky's lawyers, Krzysztof Stepinski, said he filed an appeal Monday in a bid to have his client spared extradition to Germany and have him returned to Israel.
"I believe we will win. I strongly believe that he will be [sent] back to Israel," Stepinski told The Associated Press.
Brodsky's case will be heard by the appeals court on August 5, Stepinski said.
Israel has never commented on the killing and has refused comment on Brodsky. In two court appearances in Warsaw to date, the suspect concealed his appearance, pulling a hooded jacket around his face as much as possible and covering the rest with his hands. It's not clear if Brodsky is even his real name.
Among the faked passports used in the January slaying of al-Mabhouh, according to Dubai police, was one issued by the German city of Cologne with Brodsky's alleged involvement. German weekly Der Spiegel reported the passport was issued to a man named Michael Bodenheimer, the descendant of a German Jew living in Israel.
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