I believe many men accused of murder, torture, and abuse have been described in a similar way. Hasn’t this become so passe as to be laughable, “He’s such a nice man. . . I’m sure he didn’t do X, Y, and Z . . . .”
If he is soooooo innocent, let him stand trial and prove his innocence to everyone. Avoiding trial will only make him live under a cloud forever.
Last update - 12:38 20/06/2008
Child abuse suspect Elior Chen to fight extradition from Brazil
By Jonathan Lis and Paula Idoeta
Tags: Israel, child abuse, Brazil
The self-proclaimed rabbi who was arrested in Sao Paulo a few weeks ago
on suspicion of encouraging his followers to abuse the children of a Jerusalem family has decided to contest the Israeli extradition order.
Elior Chen, the spiritual leader of a Jerusalem sect, fled from Israel amid suspicions that he initiated severe child abuse, including torture, which left two children, aged 3 and 4, hospitalized in March in critical condition.
Chen this week denied the allegations. His lawyer, Ariel Atari, said Chen had asked him "what kind of person could do things like that?"
Atari, who returned from Brazil on Wednesday, said Chen refuses to be
extradited to Israel and will contest the extradition order.
"Chen did not preach to hurt children. It did not even occur to him," Atari said Thursday.
"He is sorry he left Israel because he feels it would have been better to
state his case to the police and public in Israel. He fled to Brazil because three years ago he was interrogated by the Shin Bet about a plan to blow up the Temple Mount and had no intention of repeating that experience. So he took his things and fled Israel."
Chen is being held in a small prison with 36 inmates in Sao Paulo. Because of Atari's efforts, he receives kosher food from a catering company and has been allowed to have a phylactery in his cell.
"I found an optimistic, believing man. Contrary to his image in the media, Chen is a gentle, modest man who cannot understand how this affair has been blown up like this," Atari said.
He said Chen may agree to the extradition in a few months, when the media
storm in Israel dies down.
Chen had fled Israel to Canada with his wife and their four children three months ago after the arrest of a Jerusalem mother - apparently one of his disciples - on suspicion of severely abusing her eight children at Chen's behest. The mother was indicted for allegedly burning her 3- and 4-year-old sons, making them eat feces and locking them in a suitcase for days at a time, among other charges.