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Fearing arrest for war crimes, ex-IDF officer flees U.K.

Haaretz
12 September 2005

Doron Almog, former head of the Israel Defense Forces' Southern
Command, escaped arrest yesterday by Britain's anti-terrorist and
war crimes unit, when he remained on an aircraft that had landed in
Heathrow airport and returned with it to Israel several hours later.
Almog had arrived in London on an El-Al flight. Israel([search]) Ambassador
Zvi Heifetz learned of a plan to arrest him for allegedly
perpetrating war crimes during the intifada, and quickly informed
Yaki Dayan, head of the political department in Foreign Minister
Silvan Shalom's bureau.

In Jerusalem no one knew whether Almog was to be handed a subpoena
or an arrest warrant, or who was behind the move, but they decided
not to take a chance. The Foreign Ministry sent a message to Almog,
through the airplane's communication systems, warning him that he
could be arrested if he entered the U.K.

Almog decided to remain on the plane. Because he had not passed
border control, he was not considered to have entered Great Britain
and therefore could not be handed an arrest warrant. He had been
planning to raise funds in the country for a children's village for
severely disabled children that he plans to build in the Negev.

The request for Almog's arrest was issued by Judge Timothy Workman
in London, at the request of the firm of Hickman and Rose, which
specializes in human rights law. Almog was apparently suspected by
the London authorities of gravely violating the Geneva Convention, a
criminal violation according to British law.

The warrant was issued based on one incident - demolition of a home
in Rafah - but the attorneys also seek to investigate allegations
concerning Almog's involvement in three other cases: the killing of
a woman in her ninth month of pregnancy (Nouha al-Maqadam, March 3,
2003); the killing of three young men in northern Gaza([search]) on December
30, 2001; and the bombing of the Daraj neighborhood in Gaza on July
22, 2002, which killed Hamas' military head Salah Shehadeh and 14
other Palestinians.

Last month Hickman and Rose learned of Almog's planned visit to
Britain, and it submitted to Judge Workman information about the
Israeli's alleged involvement in various crimes. As representatives
of the families of the victims, Hickman and Rose decided to arrange
for Almog to be arrested. The firm worked closely over the past
months with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, which
documents IDF operations there.

One of the partners in the firm is Daniel Machover, who has dual
British and Israeli citizenship. Machover told Haaretz yesterday
that his clients and his firm "were deeply sorry that Almog slipped
away from the British justice system, but the fact that he feels
that he cannot stand up to it, is at least significant in showing
that there is no immunity for war criminals in Britain."

Three years ago Israel spirited Shaul Mofaz out of the country to
evade an arrest warrant for war crimes, which was issued at the
instigation of a Muslim organization.
 
 

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Re: Fearing arrest for war crimes, ex-IDF officer flees U.K.

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