Chile eases restrictions on Rotem Singer

Judges overrules decision prohibiting Israeli suspected of starting massive fire from leaving Patagonia.

January 18, 2012 16:49
1 minute read.
Rotem Singer

Rotem Singer 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

A Chilean court on Tuesday eased the travel restrictions on Rotem Singer, the Israeli backpacker suspected of starting a massive brushfire in the south of the country last month.

A panel of judges overruled a previous decision that prohibited Singer from leaving Patagonia until the conclusion of legal procedures against him.

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Rabbi Menashe Permann, a Chabad emissary in the country, has agreed to take Singer in and help him find accommodations in Santiago, the capital.

The 23-year-old backpacker is expected to stay there pending the completion of his court hearings.

Last month Singer was accused of inadvertently starting a brushfire which consumed thousands of acres of forests in a nature reserve in the south of Chile.

Several prominent Chileans including Senator Eugenio Tuma, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chilean Senate and member of the Party for Democracy, and Fuad Chahin, a member of the Christian Democratic Party, insinuated that Israel stood directly behind the blaze.

Chahin posted a tweet questioning whether Singer was sent to Chile by Israel to start the fire.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) responded that such theories were scandalous and anti-Semitic.

“The outrageous and bigoted scapegoating of Jews and Israel in the Patagonian fires needs to stop right now,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “Irrespective of whether or not the Israeli individual was responsible for the fire, there is absolutely no justification for these kinds of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” Police are continuing to investigate the fire but in recent weeks evidence has emerged that seems to suggest several arsonists caused the devastating blaze, rather than one individual.

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