'Chastity Squad' protest
Photo: Eliyahu Halevi

Prosecution seeks maximum sentence for 'Chastity Squad' offender

Elhanan Buzaglo signs plea bargain after beating a formerly religious woman leading 'immodest' life

The Jerusalem District Prosecution has signed a plea bargain with Elhanan Buzaglo, who was charged with assaulting a woman in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in the capital.


Buzaglo, a member of the so-called 'Chastity Squad,' beat and threatened a woman who did not meet the squad's standards of modesty.


During a hearing held Wednesday the prosecution said Buzaglo should be dealt the maximum punishment of jail time and be forced to compensate the woman.


The revised indictment states that the 'Chastity Squad' is an organization that openly declares its objective – fighting cases of female immodesty – and tries to obtain that goal through violent means. The prosecution said Buzaglo was paid a sum of $2,000 to attack the divorcee in her home.


In June of 2008 Elhanan Buzaglo and six other men forced their way into the woman's apartment in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Maalot Dafna. The Prosecution says that the woman once belonged to the ultra-Orthodox community, but abandoned that life after her divorce in 2005.


After seizing the woman, the men toppled her to the floor, kicked her repeatedly and then gagged her, warning she would be blinded with mace and stabbed if she dare open her eyes. She was then 'interrogated' by Buzaglo and his ilk, as they tried to force her to disclose the identities of men she had been in contact with.


The group, which also hurled profanities at the woman throughout the ordeal, is also accused of threatening to kill the woman if she did not move from her apartment.


The plea bargain signed by Buzaglo's attorney charges him with severe battery, but not with conspiracy to commit a felony. The court is currently deliberating Buzaglo's sentence.


The prosecution claims Buzaglo was a mercenary doing the bidding of the 'Chastity Squad', a group attempting to violently impose their ethical code on those who stray from it.


"The 'Chastity Squad' is lawless. It is an unacceptable phenomenon, and worthy of being punished severely," the prosecution stated to the court.


But Buzaglo's attorney, Orna Saban Eroati, said her client was deeply repentant and claimed that his behavior was legal for the most part. She claimed that he did not take part in the squad's ideology and was merely performing a mercenary duty.


Buzaglo apologized to the woman and said, "I want to express the feelings of a father who has betrayed his family. I have done a heinous deed that caused needless suffering to an undeserving woman. I realize I have committed a serious action, and am ready to accept the court's decision."


He told the court he was not asking for a minor sentence for himself, "but rather for my children and my wife, who are suffering because of my actions." The sentence will be handed down in approximately 10 days.


פרסום ראשון: 03.04.09, 21:21
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