A Polish court ruled on Wednesday that an alleged Mossad agent tied to the killing of a Hamas leaderin Dubai should be extradited to Germany.
Uri Brodsky, an Israeli citizen, is suspected of having helped to forge a German passport used in the January assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. He was detained in Poland in early June.
Brodsky showed no reaction when the ruling was announced and hid his face from reporters as he walked to the courtroom, escorted by seven anti-terrorist policemen. The proceedings were closed to the media.
Warsaw district court Judge Tomasz Calkiewicz ordered Brodsky extradition on charges of forgery.
"The ruling means that the court partially agreed with the German Federal Republic and decided that our client can be extradited to German authorities," said Brodsky's lawyer,
Defense attorney Anna Mika-Kopec sid she did not yet know whether she would appeal the extradition before the written ruling is issued by the court next week.
Prosecutors said last month that they were not taking politics into consideration and were acting in accordance with procedure after Germany issued a European arrest warrant for Brodsky.
But Polish sources told Haaretz on Wednesday that the details of the extradition ruling represented an apparent compromise: Brodsky's extradition on charges of forgery will allow Israel to escape the embarrassment of a high-profile espionage trial and the potential damage to Israeli-German relations if Brodsky were convicted as a spy.
Israel has spoken out against the extradition, saying the suspect should stand before an Israeli court, and Poland had reportedly been reluctant to return Brodsky to Germany for fear of offending its close ally.
But once it became clear that Brodsky would face relatively minor charges, Polish authorities were persuaded that extraditing him would have limited diplomartic consequences, the officials said.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said he hopes the case will not harm Polish-Israeli relations, but that European law left the court with few choices.
Germany applied for the suspect's extradition after he was arrested on June 4 in Warsaw's airport on an European arrest warrant.
Along with other western nations, Germany was angry that its passports were used by members of a suspected Mossad hit team that is believed to have murdered al-Mabhouh, a co-founder of Hamas' military wing, in a hotel room on January 19.