'Rabbi' Elior Chen arrested in Brazil

Chen, held by S?o Paulo Police, allegedly behind one of worst child abuse cases ever seen in Israel.

elior chen 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10 / Israel Police)
elior chen 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10 / Israel Police)
An Israeli fugitive who is considered to be the ringleader of - and 'spiritual mentor' responsible for - one of the worst child abuse cases in Israeli history was arrested by Sao Paulo police on Tuesday night. Elior Chen, who calls himself a "rabbi," is expected to be extradited to Israel in the coming days. Chen, 29, and his followers are suspected of severely abusing two children, ages three and four, who were beaten with hammers, knives and other implements for months, until the younger child lost consciousness in March. They are also suspected of severely abusing other children in the family. The three-year-old suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the abuse he was subjected to at the hands of his mother and her companions, according to an indictment filed in a Jerusalem court. He is expected to remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. Initially on Wednesday, Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby reported that Chen had turned himself in, though the Justice Ministry said Thursday that the suspect had actually been apprehended. However, Chen's lawyer Ariel Atari claimed that his client had turned himself in "so as to prevent Brazil's Jewish community from coming to harm." "There were reports that the Jewish community was hosting a man who had perpetrated terrible deeds, and that is why he turned himself in," Atari told Israel Radio, asserting that "The reason for his turning himself in has nothing to do with Israel Police." Chen originally flew from Israel to Canada to avoid arrest after police uncovered the abuse, then immediately continued to Brazil. In an apparently successful attempt to attain information about his whereabouts, Chen's wife Ruth and their four children were sent to Belgium from Brazil last week, the police said. Chen had apparently sought refuge with members of a vehemently anti-Zionist haredi sect in the Brazilian city. Jerusalem Police had issued an international arrest warrant for the suspected ringleader in the child abuse case in April. The suspects in the abuse case allegedly received instruction from Chen on how to 'fix' the children's behavior, and 'cleanse' them of their satanic possession, says the indictment. The chilling charge sheet in the gruesome child abuse case recounts that the mother allegedly forced her children to eat feces, locked them in a suitcase for three days - letting them out only for brief periods - repeatedly beat, whipped, and shook them, burnt their hands and gave them freezing showers. The abusive mother and 'educators' are also suspected of pouring salt on the burn wounds of one of the children, stuffing his mouth with a skullcap and sealing it with masking tape, and giving them alcoholic drinks until they vomited. Chen provided explicit written instructions on how to abuse the children. Chen's father Ya'acov has publicly urged his son to return to Israel and face trial, insisting that he is innocent.