Frenchman jailed for five years for Israel hit-and-run killing

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2014 1:11 PM

By Chine Labbé

PARIS (Reuters) - A French national was sentenced on Wednesday to five years in jail for killing an Israeli woman while driving in Tel Aviv in 2011 and then fleeing to France to avoid prosecution.

The death of Lee Zeitouni, 25, who was crossing a street in a pedestrian zone in September 2011 when hit by the speeding vehicle, has inflamed public opinion in Israel.

It also spurred a diplomatic row as Paris refused to extradite the two men involved because they are French citizens. Zeitouni's family had eventually filed a complaint in France.

Eric Robic, aged 40, and car passenger Claude Khayat, who boarded a flight to France a few hours after hitting Zeitouni, have acknowledged the facts but deny going through a red light before striking Zeitouni.

Robic was convicted of aggravated involuntary homicide.

"(Robic) is acting like a gambler...who plays with people's lives," prosecutor Henry Guyomar had said earlier on Wednesday, demanding a tougher six-year jail term. "In every aspect of life he seems to have no moral sense."

Khayat was sentenced to 15 months in jail for failing to provide assistance to the victim.

(Writing by Alexandria Sage and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Ralph Boulton)