The June 14 Metro article "Sheinbein Is Given 2nd Delay" quoted the Montgomery County state's attorney as stating that "the Israelis are not taking the case seriously enough." Israeli prosecutors were not even contacted for this one-sided story.

Readers should be informed that the Israeli prosecution worked hard on this case and made strenuous efforts to extradite Mr. Sheinbein to the United States so that he would stand trial in Maryland. The Israeli prosecution pressed the matter in the Jerusalem District Court, which did find that he could be extradited. When Mr. Sheinbein appealed this decision to Israel's Supreme Court, the Israeli prosecution presented a vigorous defense. The Supreme Court, in a 3 to 2 decision, found that Mr. Sheinbein was not extraditable.

As a result of that decision, Mr. Sheinbein cannot be extradited and is being tried before the Tel Aviv District Court for the crime he is accused of committing in Montgomery County.

Mr. Sheinbein was arrested in Israel in September 1997, shortly after his arrival here, and he has been under arrest in Israel since that time. Further, immediately after the Supreme Court held that he could not be extradited, an indictment was filed against him in the Tel Aviv District Court charging him with murder.

Regarding the delay granted by the Tel Aviv Court, as reported in the article, that court found that Mr. Sheinbein's request for a delay was justified. This criminal case is proceeding at a normal pace, similar to that of proceedings in the United States, which sometimes include delays at the preliminary stages at the request of the defense.

IRIT KOHN

Director, Department of International Affairs

Ministry of Justice

Jerusalem