Brazil to extradite Elior Chen to Israel

'Rabbi' suspected of instructing mother of 8 to abuse kids, saying it would "correct their souls."

elior chen 224.88 (photo credit: Israel Police)
elior chen 224.88
(photo credit: Israel Police)
Brazil denied a request by Elior Chen, the self-styled rabbi who allegedly influenced some of his followers to abuse their children in order to "correct their corrupt souls," to be recognized as a fugitive, according to a Tuesday announcement. Chen, 29, is likely to be extradited to Israel where he will stand trial on charges of abusing minors, soliciting to abuse minors, assaulting minors and conspiracy to commit a crime. Chen fled to Brazil more than a year ago. His lawyer Ariel Atari, however, told Army Radio that he didn't believe the extradition would take place soon, if at all. Chen escaped Israel after a terrifying affair of child abuse in a haredi family in Jerusalem was exposed. According to prosecutors, Chen instructed the mother of the family and others to beat the children severely, saying this would mend their behavior. His alleged crimes became known after two brothers, one three years old and the other four-and-a-half, were rushed to hospital on March 12, 2008 after suffering from abuse. The younger child suffered severe brain damage and has not recovered. The older one, who was admitted with burns, was released three weeks later. According to the indictment against the mother, "during the months of February and March, the accused moved with her children to her mother's apartment in Jerusalem. During that period, the mother had trouble with the responsibility of raising her children, particularly her younger ones. "She turned to [Chen] and asked his advice regarding their upbringing. [Chen] concluded that evil and harmful elements were nestling in her children and advised her, and other suspects, to perform 'corrections' in the children to help them and expel the harmful elements." After a search of several weeks, Israeli authorities discovered that Chen was hiding in Sao Paolo. On April 23, 2008, Israel asked the Brazilian authorities to arrest and hold him so it could file a formal request for his extradition. It took more than one month to locate him and he was arrested on June 3, 2008. He decided to resist his extradition.