Italy issues warrant for grandfather of cable car survivor

ROME , -- An international arrest warrant has been issued by an Italian judge for an Israeli grandfather who was involved in the rescue of a 6-year old boy from Italy in a cable car accident. The man had spirited the child to Israel, in violation of an Italian court order.

Italy issues warrant for grandfather of cable car survivor

ROME , -- An international arrest warrant has been issued by an Italian judge for an Israeli grandfather who was involved in the rescue of a 6-year old boy from Italy in a cable car accident. The man had spirited the child to Israel, in violation of an Italian court order.

Eitan Biran, the only survivor of the cable car accident in northern Italy on May 23, which resulted in 14 deaths including his parents and younger brother, was named as the sole survivor. Since then, he has been at the center of a custody dispute between his maternal grandparents in Israel as well as his paternal relatives here in Italy.

Shmulik Peleg Eitan's maternal grandfather drove him to Switzerland on Sept. 11 after a regular visit. He then flew him in a private aircraft to Israel. Eitan was ordered by an Israeli court to be returned to his family in Italy. The Israeli court ruled that his relocation to Israel was illegal and required Peleg to pay $20,000 in attorney fees and expenses.

Peleg has stated that he was justified in his decision to send the boy home, stating that it was in the best interests of the child.

Eitan was living with his parents in Italy at the time. Following weeks of treatment, Eitan was released from Turin Hospital. Officials at the Italian juvenile court ruled that the child would be living with Aya Biran (near Pavia in northern Italy) after his release.

Judge Pasquale Villeni of the Pavia tribunal issued an arrest warrant for Peleg, and Gabriel Abutbul Alon (another Israeli man) who are accused of renting a car in Switzerland. Pavia prosecutors are investigating the case against Eitan and Gabriel Abutbul Alon, an Israeli grandmother. They are accused of kidnapping and taking a child overseas in violation a court order.

A lawyer representing Peleg in Israel declined to comment Wednesday.

Wednesday's statement by the Pavia prosecutors stated that Alon and Peleg were accused of planning and executing the crime with "lucid premeditation" and "rigid organization."

Valentina De Stefano and Mario Venditti, the prosecutions, claimed that Alon and Peleg went to great lengths in hiding their tracks. They rented more than one vehicle to cross the border.

Prosecutors claimed that Peleg had also visited Switzerland multiple times in the days preceding the flight, and had paid 42,000 euros for a German charter company to fly them to Tel Aviv.

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