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Jailed rabbi Berland arrested in connection with murders linked to Hasidic cult

Jailed intercourse offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland was arrested Monday in reference to decades-old murder instances linked to his extremist ultra-Orthodox sect, in line with a number of Hebrew-language reviews.

Berland entered jail final week after he was convicted of fraud in June, in a plea deal that noticed him sentenced to 18 months.

He was arrested and questioned on the Nitzan Jail in Ramle.

The rabbi, who has not been formally recognized by authorities as the person arrested on Monday, turns into the eleventh particular person detained lately over the suspected homicide of a teenage boy and the unsolved homicide of a person within the Eighties and Nineties.

Most particulars of the investigation are below a gag order that’s in place till the top of the 12 months.

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The investigation into the disappearance and suspected homicide of 17-year-old Nissim Shitrit and the homicide of 41-year-old Avi Edri is tied to the Shuvu Bonim sect, run by Berland.

Nissim Shitrit (L) and Avi Edri in undated images (Courtesy)

A type of arrested earlier this month was the husband of a lady who has instructed police she was pressured by sect members to lure one of many victims to a selected location. An legal professional for the lady has mentioned that her shopper was a sufferer of the extremist sect, and is cooperating with police in an effort to see justice performed.

One other suspect is reportedly the son of a former senior authorities minister.

Police have beforehand mentioned that a few of these arrested had been questioned over allegations of kidnapping, homicide, and conspiracy to commit against the law. Not all are suspected of direct involvement within the killings.

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Shitrit was allegedly crushed by the sect’s “spiritual police” 4 months earlier than he was final seen in January 1986. In a documentary launched by Kan in 2020, considered one of Berland’s former disciples mentioned that the spiritual police murdered the boy, dismembered him and buried his physique in Eshtaol Forest close to Beit Shemesh. His stays had been by no means discovered and the case was by no means solved.

Edri was discovered crushed to loss of life in Ramot Forest within the north of Jerusalem in 1990.

The cult-like Shuvu Bonim offshoot of the Bratslav Hasidic sect has had repeated run-ins with the regulation, together with attacking witnesses.

Police guard followers of Rabbi Eliezer Berland ready for his arrival on the Nitzan Jail in Ramle, on October 28, 2021 (Flash90)

Berland fled Israel in 2013 amid allegations that he had sexually assaulted a number of feminine followers. After evading arrest for 3 years and slipping by numerous nations, Berland returned to Israel and was sentenced to 18 months in jail in November 2016, on two counts of indecent acts and one case of assault, as a part of a plea deal that included seven months of time served. He was freed simply 5 months later, partly because of his in poor health well being.

Berland was arrested for fraud in February 2020, after a whole lot of individuals filed police complaints saying that he had offered prayers and capsules to determined members of his group, promised households of people with disabilities that their family members would have the ability to stroll, and instructed households of convicted felons that their kin can be free of jail.

The 18-month sentence he’s presently serving was set to incorporate the 12 months he spent in jail earlier than being launched to deal with arrest in February of this 12 months.

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