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|Hearing in Ohio for 11 Israelis arrested after Sept. 11 attacks|
|11/21/01 at 15:37:05|
|By Yam Yehoshua|
Eleven Israelis being held in Ohio for illegally working in the United
will appear before a federal immigration judge on Tuesday. The Israelis
arrested shortly after the September 11 terror attacks.
According to Israel's Foreign Ministry, some 100 Israelis have been
throughout the U.S. as part of a crackdown on illegal foreign workers
following the terror attacks. Other Israelis are being held in Saint
Sacramento and Philadelphia. In ten days, five Israelis who were
New York immediately after the attacks, are to return to Israel after
deportation orders have been signed.
The Israelis held in Ohio are: Rachel Sabag, Uri Ben-Tur, Shulamit
Liron Diamant, Shahar Barkai, Liron Arbus, Benny Cohen, Yaniv Hani,
Mansour, Itay Hashay and Oren Bar. They arrived in the United States
separately and worked -probably without valid work visas- for an
employer selling toys in a Cleveland mall.
According to the families, on October 31 FBI agents broke into the
ten of the Israelis and transferred them to an FBI installation where
interrogated for three days. Another Israeli, Oren Bar, was arrested in
similar manner on November 1.
After three days the men were transferred to a jail in south Cleveland
women were transferred to a municipal jail in Ohio.
Although relatives of the Israelis understand the predicament faced by
U.S. in the wake of the terror attacks, they expressed frustration at
Ziona Mansour, Asaf's mother, told Ha'aretz: "At the previous hearing
Friday the judge wanted to deport them, but the FBI had arguments about
fake passports and that they worked for the Mossad. I know the
are under pressure, but we are not a hostile country and we are not
with murder. We contacted the Foreign Ministry but they said they will
get involved in legal procedures."
Bat Chen Sabag, Rachel's sister said, "The situation is so absurd that
asked my sister whether she knew how to prepare or neutralize bombs.
of the girls called and said they were handcuffed to chairs and that
encouraged not to hire lawyers because that would delay their release.
The Israelis' attorney, David Leopold said, "The detained were not
with working for the Mossad. They may have been asked about it in the
investigation. This is a special case because they all have valid
visas, but not
work visas. Similar trials are usually held against people with invalid
"I believe that in this hearing they will be offered 'voluntary
because until now the FBI arguments were vague," he said. "There is a
chance that the state would appeal the decision, and this chance is
increased because of the atmosphere since the September 11 attacks."
Foreign Ministry's Irit Shtoper, who is handling the affair, warned
should be aware of the risk they take if they choose to work illegally
"Everyone should know that people arrested nowadays in the United
are immediately investigated by the FBI," she said. "A person who
to risk working illegally should take into consideration the fact that
September 11 the United States reinforces the law at any stake."
"Our Foreign Ministry does not get involved, just as we would not like
someone to be involved in our legal procedures," she added. "Our only
involvement is to try and check the jail conditions and to give
recommendations to the families."
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