tel aviv 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A German immigrant was allegedly kidnapped, held for ransom and tortured for two weeks before being released, police revealed Tuesday at the culmination of a three-month-long undercover investigation.
The incident had been under a judicial gag order since its occurrence, but investigators released the chilling information after arresting two lead suspects in the case earlier this week.
Erez Dahan, 43, of Jerusalem, and Yossi Peleg, 48, from Azur, were both arrested earlier this week, and their remands were extended until Thursday.
Police said that more arrests would be made later in the week, and at least one arrest warrant had been issued for a suspect who was no longer believed to be in the country.
According to investigators, in February 2007, the new immigrant, Rafael Angel, was abducted from his Dan region home and held for approximately two weeks against his will, likely by people who already knew him and had previous business relations with him.
Angel, 30, was locked in a number of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-area apartments during the period of his captivity.
"While he was in each of the apartments under close guard by the suspects, he was beaten and physically and psychologically tortured," said Sharon Subdistrict Assistant Chief Asst.-Cmdr. Maurice Harush.
But even under pressure, police said, Angel thought ahead to help investigators who he predicted might look into his kidnapping.
"Out of fear for his life and in an attempt to leave signs of life in each apartment, he left physical bodily evidence in the hiding places," Harush said.
When police conducted searches in at least two of the apartments identified by Angel as those in which he was held captive, they recovered physical evidence matching that described by Angel.
Throughout the two weeks, the kidnappers allegedly held negotiations with the victim's family members in Germany until the family agreed to pay a ransom for the immigrant's release.
The $320,000 price was paid to an Israeli bank account, police said, but they have yet to trace and recover the money.
After it was withdrawn from the bank account, Angel was released. Once an official complaint was filed with police, the case was turned over to the Sharon Subdistrict's elite Central Investigative Unit.
In the course of the investigation, Angel led police to the sites where he had allegedly been held against his will, where investigators recovered the evidence he had left.