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US-Jordanian Citizen Who Escaped Punishment Caught in Israel

Dual citizen sentenced in 2005 in Illinois, then sentenced to 24 years in prison for shooting attack was captured yesterday in Israel.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/14/2014, 3:38 PM

Arrest (illustrative)
Arrest (illustrative)
Thinkstock

The long arm of the law extends far, but sometimes not far enough. 

US-Jordanian citizen Muhammad Abu Nakhla was sentenced to 24 years in Illinois prison in 2005, after shooting fellow motorists in the Chicago streets. But he never served his sentence, instead escaping to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA). 

Israeli police picked up where US authorities left off on Tuesday, finally apprehending the suspect - almost nine years later - in Jerusalem on charges of attempted murder, possession of a deadly weapon and obstruction of justice. Washington recently turned to Israel asking for Abu Nakhla's extradition.

The provisional extradition request revealed details of Abu Nakhla's offenses, including a shooting attack in Chicago in 2003. The attack erupted after Abu Nakhla, who was a passenger in a vehicle with his wife and several other young women, entered into an altercation with gang members that turned violent. 

The altercation, US police stated, erupted after Abu Nakhla complained to the driver of the gang vehicle, saying that the gang members had been staring at them. Ab Nakhla demanded that the gang reveal their identities as members of the many inner-city gangs in Chicago, then drove close to the driver's door of the other vehicle and demanded they roll their window down.

Abu Nakhla then shot into the vehicle, injuring the driver's arm; as he sped away, he warned the passengers in his own vehicle not to say a word - or else. 

Abu Nakhla was eventually identified and detained. In 2005, he sat trial for the incident; he was offered a plea bargain, whereby he would be released on bail and ordered to attend all court hearings on the matter.

Ten days later, however, he fled to Jordan; the trial was conducted in absentia, where he was found guilty of ten crimes and sentenced to 24 years in prison. He was also sentenced to prison time for two hearings he missed as part of his plea bargain. 

Since 2005, Abu Nakhla allegedly traveled back and forth between Ramallah and Jordan - until now. He may be extradited to the US; Attorney Yafit Roshink, from the Department of International Relations in the State Prosecutor's office, has filed an extension on the remand request for an additional 20 days in Israeli custody, according to Section 7 of the Extradition Law.