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Photo courtesy of Israel Police
'Rabbi' Elior Chen
Photo courtesy of Israel Police
Brazil: No refugee status for 'abusive rabbi'
Brazilian authorities reject 'Rabbi' Elior Chen's request for refugee status, say he will soon be extradited to Israel. Chen, allegedly behind one of worst child abuse cases in Israel, likely to seek additional steps to hold up extradition
Another barrier was overcome in the extradition case of self-proclaimed "Rabbi" Elior Chen, held responsible for severe abuse of two children in Jerusalem. Brazilian authorities Monday announced to the country's international prosecution department that the Committee for Refugee Affairs rejected Chen's request for refugee status, thus paving the way for his extradition to Israel.

 

Brazil's Supreme Court ruled two months ago that Chen would be extradited to Israel.

 

If Chen does not find additional methods for holding up the extradition process, the prosecution estimates that he will be turned over to Israeli authorities within one and a half to two months.

 

Only procedural issues are currently delaying the process, which awaits the publication of the court's decision and its supporting arguments. Once this occurs, the Brazilian justice minister must sign the extradition order for the process to be put into action.

 

Chen is wanted in Israel for his involvement in a Jerusalem child abuse case. As a leader of a cult that advocates sadistic rituals, Chen allegedly instructed a mother from Beitar Ilit to inflict severe emotional, mental and physical harm on two of her children, aged three and four years old, under the guise of "legitimate educational values" in the start of 2008. The three-year-old sustains permanent brain damage.

 

Chen fled abroad at the start of investigations against him in the case. An international arrest warrant was issued against him. Some two months after his escape, he was arrested on the streets of Sao Paolo.

 

A short time after the Supreme Court's extradition decision, Chen petitioned the court with a request to receive refugee status in order to avoid extradition to Israel.

 

In a joint effort between Attorney Gilad Scemama from the State Prosecution's department of international affairs, Israeli Ambassador to Brazil Giora Bachar, and Embassy Advisor Rafi Zinger, the Israeli authorities issued their opposition to Chen's attempt at exploiting Brazil's refugee law in order to escape trial in Israel. The efforts were fruitful, and a formal notification was issued Monday that the refugee committee rejected Chen's request for refugee status.

 

Chen's council, Attorney Ariel Atari, apparently did not place much hope on the refugee status move. "The main issue in our claim was and remains the issue of extradition and not the said request," Atari said to Ynet. "On the issue of extradition, we hope that the Brazilian Supreme Court will accept out claims, firmly based in international law."

 

A number of possible options for delaying the extradition process still stand at Chen's disposal. He can still submit an appeal to overturn the refugee status rejection to Brazil's justice minister. In addition, he can request a clarification of the Supreme Court's decision to extradite him. These steps could delay his extradition by a number of weeks.

 

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