Rotem Zinger 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Israeli man being held in Chile on suspicion of accidentally starting a
forest fire on Sunday denied outright that he had anything to do with the
In an interview with Army Radio on Sunday, 23-year-old Rotem
Zinger said “I am not responsible for the fire. They cast the blame on me and I
did not confess to anything.”
Zinger added that he thinks there may have
been a mistake in translation, and that the Chilean authorities subjected him to
a hasty “field trial.”
He told Army Radio that he was not able to
properly communicate with his lawyer, did not understand the charges against him
and that he did not give any testimony.
He also said that on the way to
the courthouse he was harassed and cursed at by passersby and he feared for his
Zinger told Army Radio that he has gone through a very difficult
few days, but that his physical health is fine.
In a video released
online Sunday, Zinger can be seen being led in handcuffs into a Chilean
courtroom, as a crowd shouts obscenities and reportedly an anti-Semitic
Earlier Sunday, Zinger’s father, Yehezkel Zinger, told Army Radio
that his son played no role in the accident and “he doesn’t understand where the
accusations came from.”
He added that his son was far away when the fire
broke out and that if he had wanted to flee the country he could
Also on Sunday, Chilean prosecutors said that Zinger had confessed
to negligence for starting the fire by not properly extinguishing a toilet-paper
roll he lit in the park.
If he is found guilty, Zinger could face 41-60
days in jail and a fine of between $80-300.
So far the blaze in southern
Patagonia has torched some 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) of the 180,000 hectare
The fire has led Chile to declare a state of emergency in the