Israel Breached International Obligations by Extraditing Hacker to U.S., Russia Says

Israel's High Court rejected petition against signing of the extradition order for Alexsey Burkov on Sunday

Alexsey Burkov at his hearing at the High Court of Justice, November 3, 2019.
Oren Ben Hakoon

The Russian Embassy in Israel condemned Monday a ruling paving the way for the extradition Russian hacker Alexsey Burkov to the United States, saying the step constitutes a "breach of… Israel's international obligations."

Israel's High Court of Justice rejected on Sunday the petition against Justice Minister Amir Ohana's decision to sign Burkov's extradition order to the U.S.

The Russian embassy wrote in a tweet Monday, "We regret the decision of Israeli's High Court of Justice to turn down Mr. Burkov's appeal on his extradition to [the U.S.]. This decision constitutes a breach of his rights as well as Israel's international obligations. This step does not contribute to the development of [Russia-Israel] relations."

The court ruling stated that Burkov's request to be extradited to the United States on condition that he be sentenced in Russia should be rejected. According to the judges' decision, there are no grounds that could require the state to do so. The judges also ruled that there were no exceptional circumstances which called for the court's intervention in the decision.

Burkov's lawyers claimed on Thursday that Israel ignored Russia's official request for three years to extradite him there.

During the hearing on a petition filed against the extradition of Burkov, his lawyers presented a letter of complaint, which they said was sent by the prosecutor general of Russia to Justice Minister Amir Ohana, in which he complained about the lack of reply to the extradition request.

The letter they presented was written on October 14, three days after the verdict was given to Naama Issachar, the Israeli young woman imprisoned in Russia.

Issachar's family also petitioned against the decision to extradite Burkov, but last week they asked the High Court to dismiss their petition. The decision to cancel the petition was taken by Yaffa Issachar, Naama's mother, and a request filed by Issachar's defense attorneys Boaz Ben Tzur and Nati Simhoni stated that "there has been a development in the law, and in matters between Issachar's family and diplomatic agents involved in handling her case."