Turkey helps Israel by extraditing felon

Photo: Turkey helps Israel by extraditing felon / Politics

Turkey cooperated with Israel to extradite a high-profile criminal involved in trafficking women for prostitution, despite a tense relationship between the two countries, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Ankara last week assented to a request from Jerusalem to extradite Guy Hassid, Israeli daily The Times of Israel reported yesterday. Turkish officials told the Hurriyet Daily News that the case was not an important matter, but was merely a criminal issue.

Hassid allegedly ran a strip club in Turkish Cyprus, using it as a front through which he ran one of the largest women trafficking businesses in the world, involving more than 10,000 victims.

According to the daily, Hassid hid in Turkish Cyprus for three years before he was arrested by Turkish police over a year ago at the request of Israel. The investigation was also aided by law enforcement authorities in Russia and the Ukraine.

"Despite its differences with Israel, Turkish police agreed to help after they were briefed on the gist of the case and they realized what it was about and the extent of the man's criminal actions," the officer was quoted by Israel's Maariv as saying. "They cooperated with us and this week the extradition [process] was completed."

He was flown to Israel on the night of Feb. 12 where he remained in custody for 10 days, despite requests from his attorney that he be released on house arrest.

Hassid's former partner Rami Saban, dubbed "Israel's biggest pimp," was also sentenced to 18 years by an Israeli court in May 2012. Russian authorities believe Saban and Hassid were in charge of one of the largest human trafficking rings in Europe and possibly the world.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been strained since the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, in which an Israeli raid killed nine Turkish nationals.

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