Bermuda Appeals Court to Decide Fate of Five Wanted in U.S.
HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) _ Bermuda’s appeal court this week will decide the fate of five men wanted in the United States for allegedly attempting to sell $2.1 billion worth of arms to Iran.
The five, who include two Americans and a former military attache to the Israeli Embassy in Turkey, have been fighting deportation to the United States.
They were arrested April 21 and charged with immigration violations after refusing to re-board a British Airways flight that stopped here en route from London to Baltimore.
The charges were later dropped when Deputy Governor Mark Herdman of Bermuda signed a deportation order. The order was immediately appealed.
The five are retired Israeli Brig. Gen. Avraham Baram, 52, the former attache; American Samuel Evans, 50, a London-based lawyer; Israeli Rafael Eisenberg, 55; and his 30-year-old son Guriel, who runs an insurance business in Jerusalem; and William Northrop from Scottsdale, Ariz., who has Israeli citizenship.
Their lawyer, Brian Smedley, told a hastily convened appeal court Monday that the deportation order was an attempt not to expel undesirables from Bermuda but to surrender the five to U.S. authorities.
He said the five had repeatedly offered to return to London at their own expense but had been prevented from doing so.
The five are among 25 suspects facing charges in New York for violating regulations on U.S. arms sales to Iran. They face maximum prison terms of five years and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Iran last month strongly denied involvement in a plan to buy U.S. warplanes, missiles and tanks from the five.
Israel has also said it is not in any way involved, although Israel radio was recently quoted as saying Baram, a hero during the 1967 war, was granted a Defense Ministry permit last year that allowed him to act as a freelance consultant on military equipment.