Israeli court rules Mexican ex-diplomat accused of rape extraditable

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -An Israeli court on Thursday ruled that a former Mexican diplomat who has been accused of sexual abuse and rape in one of his home country's most prominent #MeToo cases is extraditable.

Andres Roemer, a former consul-general to San Francisco and ambassador to UNESCO, was arrested in Israel last year following extradition requests filed by Mexico since 2021. He has denied the allegations against him.

Generally, Israel's justice minister must sign off on extraditions before they can be carried out. The Justice Ministry did not immediately say when that might happen.

For the time being, Jerusalem District Court ordered Roemer placed under house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet, according to the ruling seen by Reuters.

Mexico and Israel do not have a specific extradition treaty. Its foreign ministry welcomed the Israeli court decision.

"The decision is an encouraging though not definitive step towards confirming the judicial decision," the ministry said, noting that Roemer still has 30 days to appeal the decision.

According to the United Mexican Journalists (PUM) association, there were over 60 reports of sexual violence from Roemer in 2021, though few made it to prosecution.

In January, Itzel Schnaas, one of the women who accused Roemer, told reporters at least 184 similar testimonies had been collected.

Speaking on Grupo Formula's TV channel on Thursday, Schnaas said Roemer's victims had been left out of the legal process.

"We hope the state of Israel will send him soon so he will face a Mexican tribunal where we can present the evidence," she said.

(Writing by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Additional reporting by Sarah Morland in Mexico City; Editing by Mark Porter and Miral Fahmy)