Dutch arrest fugitive rabbi wanted on sex charges

12th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Dutch police have arrested an elderly man believed to be the leader of a Jewish Hasidic sect on the run since two years and wanted in Israel for alleged indecent assault of women and girls.

The 77-year-old rabbi was arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Thursday after he evaded authorities who tried to arrest him in South Africa, several Dutch newspapers reported.

The rabbi is the leader of a Hasidic sect who fled Israel two years ago after several women and a 15-year-old girl laid charges of indecent assault against him, the Algemeen Dagblad reported.

Dutch prosecutors confirmed the arrest of a "77-year-old man on an international warrant with an extradition request made by Israel," but they declined to name the suspect.

The tabloid Algemeen Dagblad said that the arrest "ends a two-year cat-and-mouse game with police and justice officials."

"He outsmarted authorities several times and often received assistance through an extensive network of followers," it added.

He evaded capture in the United States, Switzerland, Morocco and Zimbabwe, as well as in South Africa, where he dodged a roadblock a week ago.

"The arrest was requested by the Israeli authorities who issued an international warrant and is now requesting his extradition," Tine Zwiers of the Dutch public prosecutor's office told AFP.

"It has to do with indecent assault charges," she said.

Zwiers said the rabbi has been released but that his passport has been confiscated pending a decision on his extradition to Israel.

© 2014 AFP

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