Russian Hacker Held in Israel Extradited to United States

High Court has turned down Burkov's petition against his extradition, in a step the Russian Embassy said 'did not contribute' to ties between the two countries

Russian hacker Aleksey Burkov detained in Israel attends a High Court hearing, Jerusalem, November 7, 2019.
Oren Ben Hakun

Russian hacker Aleksey Burkov was extradited on Monday night to the United States on the instruction of Justice Minister Amir Ohana. Burkov was brought to Ben-Gurion airport just before midnight and handed over to the American authorities, for his flight to the United States.

Earlier Monday  the High Court of Justice rejected Burkov’s petition against his extradition.

About an hour before Burkov was brought to the airport he came to a hearing at the Tel Aviv District Court of a request by Haaretz to reveal the details of the case in which he is involved. He appeared in court surrounded by prison guards.

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On Monday the Russian Embassy in Israel condemned the High Court’s rejection of Burkov’s petition noting that the “step did not contribute” to ties between the two countries.

“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,” the Russian Embassy tweeted on Monday.

Justices Esther Hayut, Yitzhak Amit and Ofer Grosskopf noted that the court does not usually intervene in decisions with implications for Israel’s foreign affairs. The court ruled to reject Burkov’s request to serve his sentence in Russia, stating that there was no reason Israel should be obliged to do so. The justices also said that there were no extenuating circumstances that would require the court to intervene in the decision to extradite Burkov to the United States.

Israeli sources confirmed last month that Russia had pressured Israel to release Burkov in exchange for the release of an Israeli-American woman, Naama Issachar, who was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on drug-related charges.

Issachar’s family also petitioned against the decision to extradite Burkov, but last week 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.”