Four followers of self-styled rabbi Elior Chen were found guilty on Wednesday of acts of violence against children.
During their trial at the Jerusalem District Court, Roi Tsoref, David Kugman, Abraham Mitzkelachy and Simon Gabai accused Chen of participating in the abuse. The acts of abuse include violently throwing the children around by their arms and legs, leaving a child in an electric oven until his hair burned, placing a child in a suitcase for three days and feeding a child excrement, as well as other extreme acts of abuse. The court indictment counted 40 separate acts of abuse against the child victims.
Chen has been charged with ordering his followers to beat and psychologically abuse the eight siblings, all children of a mother belonging to his sect. He has been described as being viewed by his adherents as a tzaddik, or righteous man, to be emulated. Chen justified the sadistic practices as means of exorcising demons from the children.