Suspected mob boss Meir Abergil, who is awaiting extradition to the U.S., requested last week that he be separated from his cellmate and brother Yitzhak Abergil. The reason: Yitzhak is a heavy smoker, and Meir is worried about secondhand smoke.
Supreme Court Justice Ayala Procaccia overturned the Tel Aviv District Court's decision to release Abergil to house arrest while he awaits extradition, and instead sent him to Rimonim Prison, along with his brother. Both are wanted in the U.S. for money laundering, extortion and threats.
Meir Abergil's attorney wrote to the Israel Prison Service, "Yitzhak Abergil is a heavy smoker and my client is sensitive to smoke, which causes him considerable discomfort," and stated that Meir Abergil is "seriously concerned about the damage caused by smoking."
The request also says Meir Abergil suffers from several health problems. "My client's room is not properly ventilated, so he is concerned that continued exposure to secondhand smoke would worsen his condition and further damage his health."
The Abergils, reputed heads of one of Israel's most notorious crime syndicates, appeared before a Jerusalem Magistrate's Court judge in August, along with Moshe Malul and Israeli Ozifa, who are also wanted in the U.S. for their alleged role in the killing of an Israeli drug dealer, Sami Atias.
Police and prosecution sources have said the extradition process may take as long as a year, because of the various court deliberations and other bureaucratic requirements. In addition to the murder, the indictment includes three other crimes attributed to Yitzhak Abergil, including Ecstasy dealing, extorting and assaulting businessmen, money laundering and fraud.
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