Photo: Avi Cohen
On the loose: Benny Sela
Photo: Avi Cohen
Police scour Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv: Massive manhunt underway

Police, helicopters search for convicted serial rapist Benny Sela, who managed to escape prison by fooling police, Prison Service and court system

Police launched one of the largest manhunts in Israeli history Friday after the humiliating escape of convicted serial rapist Benny Sela Friday morning, on his way to a fabricated court hearing.


At around 9 p.m. Friday police focused the manhunt on the southern Tel Aviv area, where his mother resides after the mother's neighbor reported to police that Sela had visited the house.


Police arriving on the scene identified a man fleeing, who matched Sela's description. Police cruisers were searching the area and roadblocks were set up on adjacent streets. Likewise, a police chopper was called to the scene.


Meanwhile, Ynet has attained the Tel Aviv Labor Court judge’s decision to summon Sela to a court hearing on December 21 at 11 a.m. However, the document in the hands of the Shin Bet, according to which Sela was taken out of his cell and brought to court in Tel Aviv, reads November 24, 7:10 a.m.


The explanation for the disparity in dates is not yet clear, although the document Ynet attained was apparently the only one issued by the court.


The summons was issued after in 1999 Sela filed charges against a former employer. Sela claimed the employer owed him money, and sued him at the Labor Court.


Since 1999, deliberations on the issue were held without Sela’s attendance and were delayed numerous times. The accused filed a special request to cancel the charges. Sela, in response, turned to the court in an emotional letter asking not the erase the charges.


In the end, the court decided to allow Sela his day in court: On the 21st of December. And now the special probe committee appointed by the internal security minister will have to figure out how Sela was taken out of his cell in November for a December hearing? How did he manage to fool the Prison Service, police and court system, in a heist the scale of which has never before been witnessed in Israel?


Interior Security Minister Aviv Dichter instructed the appointment of a
special committee to probe the circumstances of the escape. The committee will be headed by Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yaron. Dichter gathered Police Chief Moshe Karadi and Prisons Authority commander Yaakov Ganot for a special meeting in Tel Aviv.


Dichter said, “Our first mission right now, in light of the major failure here, is to put capturing the convict Benny Sela at the top of our priority list, either by the police or the other bodies that can contribute.


"I have directed the police to devote all resources to the cause. In parallel, we are investigating the failure in the police and Prison Service.”


פרסום ראשון: 11.24.06, 22:02
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