Elior Chen aboard flight to Israel
Brazilian police official after Chen's arrest (archives)
Photo: AP

Attorney says abusive 'rabbi' innocent

Elior Chen, accused of ordering followers to abuse children, lands in Israel Wednesday after extradition from Brazil; passengers hurl insults at him during flight, dub him 'scum'. Attorney says acts attributed to Chen 'never happened'

The charges against so-called 'abusive rabbi' Elior Chen in connection with the horrific abuse of children are false, his attorney said Wednesday.


Chen, who is accused of posing as a rabbi and ordering his followers to abuse their children and infants to "correct their corrupt souls", landed at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport Wednesday afternoon after being extradited from Brazil. He was taken directly from the airport to a Jerusalem police station, arriving in a police convey at around 4 pm.


The probe ended by 10 pm Wednesday.


Chen taken to police station (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


Speaking to journalists at the police station, attorney Ariel Atari said he is waiting to see the charges attributed to his client.


"In any case, these things never happened," he said.


Addressing Chen's expected conduct during interrogation, the attorney said: "He will look at them during the probe, listen to them, and that's it. He will say whatever he has to say at court."


Chen boarded an aircraft in Sao Paolo before the rest of the passengers accompanied by Israeli and Brazilian officers. During the flight he began ranting and screaming, claiming that the extradition was not legal, prompting local policemen to forcefully sit him down.


Curious passengers approached Chen during the flight, photographed him, and cursed him, dubbing him "scum."

Elior Chen landing in Israel (Photo: Dana Kopel)


'Solid case'

The Jerusalem District Prosecution, which is preparing its indictment, said the case against Chen is solid.


In March 2008 Chen fled Israel to Canada and from there to Brazil when the allegations against him became known. In June he was detained by Brazilian police in Sao Paolo after an international arrest warrant had been issued against him.


Chen tried to evade his extradition, and filed various appeals to Brazilian courts to this effect. The State Prosecutor's Office's international department fought against these appeals, eventually securing the extradition.


In July Brazilian authorities announced Chen's appeal for refugee status had been denied, thus bolstering a Supreme Court order to extradite the faux rabbi.


Chen will likely be charged with abusing minors, soliciting to abuse minors, assaulting minors and conspiracy to commit a crime.


Roee Mandel and Guy Ronen contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 10.28.09, 14:57
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