Berland opts for ‘Sun City’ jail
“But,” said Langa, “I have been instructed by the rabbi that he needs certain guarantees before he can return to Israel. The Israeli state has moved against certain people. We all know the name Ariel Sharon who was injected and put into a four-year https://www.sajr.co.za/images/default-source/People/group/breslov-home2.jpg” class=”sfImageWrapper”>This dialogue descended into a shouting match, with Langa apparently losing his temper and Raghunandan telling him not “to point his fingers at the court, not to shout at the court and not to call the court incompetent”.
The prosecutor, Advocate Nerisha Naidoo, said the decision to hold a bail hearing urgently was as a result of submissions from Langa who had said some weeks ago that it was “in the interests of justice” to hold a bail hearing for Berland.
Langa then closed his case, telling the court why Berland was not a flight risk. “The rabbi has hired lawyers, attended court, given an address, surrendered to investigators, and never tried to avoid arrest,” said Langa.
“Moreover, he has an immense world-wide following of about 1.3-million people and is a wonderful spiritual healer,” Langa continued. “The allegations brought against seem to have been of the sort that can be easily defended. Clearly some women were uncomfortable but these things happen and can be worked out.”
Prosecutor painted a picture of a conman
Naidoo countered that Berland’s Ivorian passport was a fake, his Israeli passport belonged to a deceased person, and his entry permit into SA had terminated in February; that Berland had repeatedly tried to mislead the court by claiming, for example, that he had applied for political asylum in SA, for which there was no proof; that the charges he faced in Israel were in fact serious ones; and that he had given as his permanent address in SA a property belonging to someone called Henry Kruger who had allegedly been an “apartheid era spy” and chartered his plane to people who needed to cross borders with a minimum of fuss.
Naidoo said Berland’s situation in SA was the same as it had been in the Netherlands. There, she said, he had skipped the country, forfeiting his bail of 50 000 Euros. “He could do the same here,” she said.
Naidoo said Berland had no followers in Nablus, as claimed, nor was he targeted by Israel – he was merely a fugitive from justice.
Raghunandan then adjourned the proceedings until Thursday morning when she will decide whether Berland can be given bail or must remain in custody. She said therefore that Berland should prepare to go to Johannesburg Prison (known sarcastically as “Sun City” by locals) where he had spent the weekend including the first three days of Passover.
Attorney fights for what Rav didn’t want
At this point Langa leapt to his feet and said it was “completely unacceptable” that an “old man who has suffered so much” should be sent to prison where his food has been stolen and three of his followers had been locked up for three hours on Friday night.
Langa spoke for 20 minutes, continually repeating angrily that the state would have “a dead man on its hands” if Berland were returned to Sun City. Despite objections from the prosecution, Raghunandan acquiesced and ordered that Berland be housed in the Randburg police station for the next two nights.
As she was leaving the court, Rabbi Berland surfaced from reading and said to the court that he actually wanted to return to Sun City. “I don’t care about food,” he said, “I want the single cell I have at Sun City so that I can study.”
There was pandemonium in the court and Langa stalked out. An aide of Berland’s, known as Natan, said: “We must do what he wants. We didn’t know that he would prefer to study rather than eat.”
BERLAND SPENT PESACH IN ‘SUN CITY’ PRISON
posted on JR after court Friday, links to the recent
events & the whole Rabbi Eliezer Berland megillah