Elior Chen opposing extradition from Brazil

Litigation in case of suspected ringleader in abuse case expected to take months.

elior chen 224.88 (photo credit: Israel Police)
elior chen 224.88
(photo credit: Israel Police)
Rabbi Elior Chen, the suspected ringleader and spiritual mentor in one of the worst child abuse cases in Israeli history, will fight his extradition from Brazil, his Israeli attorney said Sunday. Chen, 28, was arrested in Sao Paolo on June 3 after his local lawyer called Brazilian police with information about his whereabouts. "We do not agree to the extradition," his Israeli lawyer, Ariel Atari, said in an interview after returning from a visit to Chen in Brazil. Atari said the litigation over the extradition request could last between six months and a year-and-a-half. "The timing of the extradition is significant," he said, suggesting that Chen might accept extradition when the media storm over the case subsided in Israel. Israel and Brazil do not have an extradition treaty but law enforcement officials have been working hand-in-hand since an international warrant for Chen's arrest was issued in April. The Justice Ministry had said that Chen could be extradited to Israel "in the coming weeks" if he did not mount a protracted legal battle. His extradition is now pending approval by the Brazilian Supreme Court. Chen and his followers are suspected of savagely and systematically beating two brothers, aged three and four, with hammers, knives and other instruments for months, until the younger boy lost consciousness in March. They are also suspected of the severe abuse of other children in the family. The three-year-old suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother and her companions, and is expected to remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. Chen had fled the country just as police uncovered the abuse case, traveling to Brazil via Canada with his own family. He turned himself in to Brazilian police on June 3 to avoid besmirching the local Jewish community, who were getting bad press as a result of the case, his lawyer said. Five people, including the children's mother, have already been indicted. The mother forced her children to eat feces, locked them in a suitcase for three days - letting them out only for brief periods of time - repeatedly beat, whipped, and shook them, burned their hands with a lighter and a heater, and gave them freezing showers, according to the charge sheet. The mother and Chen and his "educators" are also suspected of pouring salt on the three-year-old's burn wounds, stuffing his mouth with a kippa and sealing his mouth with masking tape, and giving the children alcoholic drinks until they vomited. As he awaits his extradition proceeding in a small Brazilian prison, Chen is receiving kosher food from a catering company and has been allowed to have phylacteries in his cell.