Chen. 'Sufficient evidence for conviction'
Photo courtesy of Israel Police
A year and a half after fleeing Israel, faux rabbi Elior Chen will land at Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday afternoon. Chen, who is suspected of ordering his followers to abuse toddlers and children, boarded a flight Israel on Tuesday night after being turned over to Israel Police representatives in Brazil.
The State Prosecutor's Office is already preparing a harsh indictment against him.
About two weeks ago, Ynet revealed the upcoming extradition process. Chen, who was arrested in Brazil in June 2008, boarded a direct 14-hour El Al flight from San Paolo to Tel Aviv, together with the Israeli policemen sent to Brazil. He was to be guarded throughout the flight by a Brazilian police officer as well.
Ynet has learned that Chen was put on the plane before all other passengers, accompanied by an Israeli detective. At a certain stage, he began ranting and screaming that the extradition was illegal, forcing local policemen to forcefully sit him down in the plane's economy class cabin.
Elior Chen on the plane
Upon landing in Israel, he will be transferred in a squad car to the police station in Jerusalem's Russian Compound, where he will be questioned. He will later be brought before the Magistrate's Court for a remand hearing.
The Jerusalem Prosecutor's Office is ready for his arrival, and is already preparing an indictment following the police interrogation. Prosecution officials have said that the evidence against Chen is solid, and that even if he remains silent during the interrogation, there is sufficient evidence to file charges against him and even to convict him.
According to prosecution sources, they have testimonies from two of the children who spoke against Chen, as well as their mother who framed the faux rabbi in her police interrogation.
The woman is expected to testify against him as part of a plea bargain she signed, which states that she will be sentenced to five years in prison for abusing her children.
Chen is expected to be charged with severe intentional sabotage, assaulting a minor and abusing a minor in a large number of incidents.
'Fertile cooperation with Brazil'The prosecution's international department is extremely satisfied with the extradition. According to a senior official, "After a battle lasting a year and a half, we have managed to bring Chen to Israel and see him in court."
The international department handled the entire extradition process with Brazil and defined the cooperation between the sides as fertile.
In March 2008, when the affair was revealed, Chen fled Israel to Canada and then to Brazil. Israel issued an international arrest warrant against him in April. His wife was arrested in May in Brazil, and he was arrested several days later.
In December 2008, the Brazilian authorities asked Israel for an opinion on its authority to press charges against Chen, after the "rabbi" had claimed that some of his actions were carried out in the settlement of Beitar Illit, which is beyond the Green Line.
In May 2009, Brazil's Supreme Court ruled that he could be extradited to Israel, but a week later Chen asked the Brazilian authorities for a political shelter and a refugee status, claiming that Israel was persecuting him for religious reasons.
A Brazilian committee denied his request, and about three weeks ago the Brazilian justice minister signed the extradition order.
Aviad Glickman contributed to this report