Teen charged over US bomb threats has made multiple suicide attempts: lawyer
JACK GUEZ (AFP/File)
The Jewish American-Israeli teenager charged with making dozens of hoax bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the US has made multiple suicide attempts in prison over the past two weeks, his lawyer said in an interview on Wednesday.
The prison where 18-year-old suspect is being held is apparently considering transferring him to a psychiatric wing.
"The teenager I am representing is in a bad state. In the past two weeks he has made five suicide attempts," the 18-year-old's attorney told Israel's Channel 10 news.
"In the jail itself he is in the psychiatric wing. [They] are currently weighing whether to transfer him to a psychiatric hospital inside of the jail," she added.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli Prison Service.
His lawyer and parents have said that the teen -- whose identity remains under gag order -- has a brain tumor and suffers from autism, highlighting his medical condition as a possible cause for his behavior.
In an interview with The Times of Israel last month, the teen's parents expressed concern about their son’s health, saying that he has lost a significant amount of weight since his indictment. His father said he wasn’t sure that his son recognized him the last time he visited.
"Every time the phone rings, I’m afraid they’re going to tell me something terrible has happened to him," his mother said. "We’re worried for his life," his father added.
The teen is accused of placing some 2,000 threatening calls to mainly Jewish institutions in the US and internationally, according to the Israeli Justice Ministry.
The shocking figure is astronomical compared to indictments filed in several US states, which puts the number of threats closer to 200.
He is also accused of a host of other crimes, including attempted extortion as well as money-laundering, reporting false information causing public panic, conspiring to commit a crime and hacking.
His arrest -- a joint effort between the Israeli police's cyber-security investigators and the FBI -- followed a wave of bomb threats to American Jewish institutions since the start of the year, which helped spread fears over whether hate crimes and anti-Semitic acts have been on the increase in the country.
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