WARSAW - The Israeli suspected of forging a German passport allegedly used in the January assassination of a Hamas operative landed in Israel last night. The arrival of the man, identified as Uri Brodsky, came after a German court released him on bail following his extradition from Poland to Germany on Thursday.
A court in the German city of Koln subsequently said Brodsky will be allowed to leave the country while proceedings against him continue. He will be represented by his attorneys in court.
Brodsky, who is expected to face charges of forgery, faces a maximum penalty of three years. The Polish court that authorized his extradition limited the ability of German authorities to charge him with more serious crimes, noting the only available evidence related to the illegal procurement of a German passport.
According to Polish sources, even before his extradition was approved, a secret deal had been reached by which Brodsky would be allowed to return to Israel, with guarantees that if he is sentenced to jail time he will be sent back to Germany. German legal experts believe the court will only fine Brodsky and not ask for jail time.
Brodsky, an Israeli citizen, was arrested in Poland in early June, and is charged with helping procure a German passport through forgery. The German media reported that he used the name Alexander Verin when he assisted another alleged Mossad agent, who represented himself as Michael Bodenheimer, the son of a German Jew named Hans Bodenheimer, in acquiring a German passport.
Responding to the news that Brodsky was released on bail, the United Arab Emirates says it is seeking clarification from Germany on why it released an alleged Israeli spy wanted in connection with the slaying of a Hamas operative in Dubai. Emirati Foreign Ministry official Abdul Rahim al-Awadi said yesterday that the UAE has asked Berlin for an explanation of why Brodsky was released while the case is ongoing.
Brodsky is accused of illegally helping to procure a German passport used in connection with the January 19 assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, allegedly by a Mossad hit squad.
The UAE authorities maintain that more than 30 suspects were involved in the hit, and that they used passports from Britain, Ireland, France, Australia and Germany. The use of apparently fake passports from other countries led to diplomatic friction between Israel and those countries, including the expulsion of Israeli diplomats in some cases.