Brazil refuses refugee status for Israeli rabbi


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli spiritual leader who allegedly abused children will not receive refugee status in Brazil.

The decision announced Monday by Brazilian authorities means that Elior Chen, the leader of a Jerusalem religious sect that allegedly has abused children, could soon be extradited to Israel. Chen can appeal the decision.

An Israeli investigation continues into allegations that Chen’s abuse of one woman’s children led to two of them, aged 4 and 5, being hospitalized in March in critical condition and another, 3, remaining in a persistent vegetative state.

Chen allegedly urged his followers to abuse their children, including beatings, forcing them to eat feces and pouring household cleaners into open wounds, to "correct their corrupt souls."

An international arrest warrant was issued for Chen in April. He originally fled to Canada. His wife and children reportedly are hiding in Belgium.


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