arrest warrant issued for Shmuel Peleg

Italy issues arrest warrant for grandfather of cable car crash survivor


Italy issued an international arrest warrant for the grandfather of Eitan Biran. The boy was the sole survivor of Piedmont cable car crash and is the centre of a bitter custody battle.

Prosecutors say the alleged abduction of Eitan Biran, who was taken from Italy to Israel, was a ‘premeditated strategic plan’. They also filed an arrest warrant for an Israeli man who allegedly drove the grandfather and child to the Swiss city of Lugano. They flew from there, by private plane, to Tel Aviv.

Israeli judge ruled against grandfather

The Prosecutor’s move follows the ruling by an Israeli judge that Eitan be returned to Italy to stay with his paternal aunt.

The maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg, was also ordered to pay about €18,000 in expenses and legal costs. The child’s maternal relatives appealed against the ruling. A further hearing will be held in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

Eitan has both Italian and Israeli passports. He was born in Israel but had been living in Italy since he was one month old.

Eitan went to live with his paternal aunt, Aya Biran-Nirko, in Pavia after he was discharged from hospital in June. Biran-Nirko was granted temporary custody soon after the tragedy so Eitan could continue to receive the necessary medical care.

However, this was contested by relatives on his mother’s side in Israel. Tensions between the two sides of the family escalated, even though Biran-Nirko provided the grandparents access to Eitan.

Removed to Israel

The boy was taken to Israel in September in a private plane that prosecutors said cost €42,000.

Eitan’s paternal relatives claimed he had been taken away against their wishes. They immediately filed a petition for his return to Italy. Peleg argued he acted in the boy’s best interests.

The prosecutor Mario Venditti told Ansa news agency: “We are waiting for the response of the Israeli authorities to the international arrest warrant. Then we will proceed with the closure of the investigation and the request for a trial.”

The wreckage of the cable car cabin was removed on Tuesday amid an ongoing investigation into the cause of the crash.

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