24 Jan 2011

Israeli court convicts ultra-Orthodox cult leader of torturing 8 children to spiritually purify them

The Washington Post - November 30, 2010

Israel convicts fugitive rabbi of child abuse

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli court has convicted a self-proclaimed rabbi of severely abusing eight young children and instructing his followers to do the same.

Elior Chen was found guilty on Tuesday of hitting the children with a hammer, binding their limbs and burning body parts, among other acts. The incidents took place two years ago, and one child remains in a vegetative state.

Chen was the spiritual leader of a Jerusalem group of four followers who believed in abuse as a way to discipline children.

Each of the followers was sentenced last week to up to 20 years in jail. Chen awaits sentencing.

In 2008, Chen was arrested in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after fleeing Israel. He was extradited to Israel last year. His lawyer said he did not receive a fair trial.

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