PAVIA – A hectic morning on the Pavia-Rome-Tel Aviv axis, between prosecutors, law firms, embassies and ministries. And, of course, the villa in Travacò Siccomario, in the Pavia area, where on Saturday morning at 11.30 Eitan Biran he was kidnapped – according to the prosecution of the magistrates – by his maternal grandfather Shmuel Peleg who, with a private jet took off from Lugano airport, brought his nephew, the only survivor of the Mottarone massacre, to Israel, snatching him from his paternal aunt and legal guardian, Aya Biran.
Inquiry into the grandfather and grandmother’s involvement
The first news of the day concerns the grandfather who kidnapped the child: he is under investigation in Pavia for kidnapping aggravated by the victim’s minor age. The lawyer Cristina Pagni, one of Aya Biran’s lawyers, had entered the court this morning to “speak with the tutelary judge – he explained – to activate the International Hague Convention” concerning the civil aspects of international child abduction. Precisely on the basis of the Hague Convention, the Israeli government – according to what was reported by the Tel Aviv media – would have received a first indication that would identify in the return of Eitan to the foster aunt the solution of the painful family dispute that began in August and culminated with the shot of last Saturday. While the legal defenders of Shmuel Peleg specify that their client has “acted on impulse” – and seem to want to represent an attitude, let’s say, collaborative on the part of the grandfather-kidnapper – in the plot of this bad story also the name of the ex-wife of Peleg, Esther Cohen: an Israeli radio, 103 Fm Or, reports that she too, Eitan’s maternal grandmother, “was in Italy and took part in the kidnapping”. To declare it in the interview with the broadcaster is Or Nirko, husband of paternal aunt Aya Biran: “She claims – said Nirko – that she flew back to Israel the day before, apparently in order not to be exposed to the accusation of complicity”.
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Genesis of the rapture
When was the blitz on Saturday organized? Who helped Shmuel Peleg in the project to bring Eitan back to Israel where the child had spent a period during the Covid lockdown? The journey by car from Travacò Siccomario to Switzerland: the passage from the border to Chiasso and finally the Lugano airport where the Cessna with which they flew to Tel Aviv was waiting for grandfather and grandson. The investigation opened by the acting prosecutor of Pavia, Mario Venditti, also aims to clarify how Peleg, a long past in the Israeli army, a consultant for an electronics company in his country, managed to do all this. And if and who guaranteed him any help. But let’s go back to the grandfather-kidnapper. “After being expelled from the proceedings and hearings and worried about the health of his grandson, he acted on impulse.” The lawyers explain it Paolo Sevesi, Sara Carsaniga, Paolo Polizzi, representing Shmuel Peleg. “We will work – they write – so that the rights of the maternal family are recognized, after which we are confident that Shmuel will once again have confidence in Italian institutions and we will commit ourselves to this”.
Mediation by Peleg’s lawyers
In short: the lawyers “downsize the fact”. Peleg, a note reads, “brought Eitan to Israel after trying in vain for months to be able to bring the voice of the maternal family into the civil proceedings for the appointment of a guardian”. The lawyers say they are “confident that, once the correctness of the contradiction has been restored in the various civil proceedings, and obtained reassurance from the Israeli doctors, he will be able to return to discuss his assignment in the appropriate forums”.
“Bullying actions are always wrong – they clarify – but let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a man who tragically loses 5 family members in a foreign land, to whom the doctors do not speak and the lawyers say that the civil procedure for the protection of Eitan was done in a way summary”. And they conclude: “We will work to ensure that the rights of the maternal family are recognized, after which we are confident that Shmuel will once again have faith in Italian institutions and we will commit ourselves to this”.
The legal opinion in Israel: the child should be brought back to Italy
The Israeli authorities will probably have to “return” little Eitan Biran to his legal guardian in Italy. A legal opinion from the Israeli government issued by experts from the Foreign and Justice ministries pointed out that bringing Eitan Biran to Israel, against the will of her legal guardian, probably constitutes a kidnapping, according to what was reported by Channel 12 News.
The document states that the move made by Eitan’s maternal grandfather violated the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, a law adopted by Israel in 1991. According to the law, Israeli authorities must do everything in their power. their power to return the boy to his legal guardian in Italy as soon as possible. Eitan’s legal guardian, Aya Biran-Nirko, the Italian resident sister of the child’s late father, filed a complaint with the Italian police stating that the child was kidnapped by his maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg.
Eitan was not kidnapped, he just returned home, the child’s wish was to return to Israel. The Jerusalem Post, reporting an interview released to the Israeli media by Etti, the child’s grandmother. “He had wanted to return to Israel for some time – said the woman – finally, after four months, the doctors will see him. His aunt and uncle in Italy have forbidden my husband and me to meet his doctors and therapists”. Etti also later confirmed that the child is being treated at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv. “He was born and raised in my home – he continued – he is the first grandson, a very affectionate and intelligent boy. During Covid he was here for six months or even more”.
On the Pavia front, Aya Biran and her husband Or Nirko seem determined to fight the battle to bring Eitan back to Italy, even if – they say – “now we let the investigators and diplomats do their job”. Or Nirko – who spoke on the radio immediately after Etty Peleg, interviewed by the same broadcaster – then added that “do not believe that Eitan comes to understand that he has been kidnapped. I imagine that the maternal family has persuaded him that he is back in a vacation and who does not know of the crime committed against him. You can imagine how we feel “, he concluded.
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The reactions of Di Maio and Salvini
The Foreign Minister spoke in the morning on the Eitan Biran affair, Luigi Di Maio: “We are ascertaining what happened and then intervening.” Thus the head of the Farnesina replied to journalists about the upcoming government initiatives on the case, speaking on the sidelines of an M5s electoral demonstration in Sulmona, Abruzzo.
Before him the leader of the League had expressed himself, Matteo Salvini. “It is really absurd that a child who has suffered and who has lost his parents escapes, with a kidnapping, is really absurd. It is clear that in Italy there is a problem of security and controls”: he said from Assisi, responding to a he asked about the Eitan affair, the child brought to Israel by his maternal grandfather on a private flight probably departed from Switzerland. “The children – he added – are not taken with deception or violence, I hope that a solution will be found as soon as possible, thanks also to the excellent relations that our country has always had with Israel”.