Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Fugitive Jerusalem rabbi sentenced

By Pamenus Tuso

A fugitive rabbi from Jerusalem, Eliezer Berland (77) was on Wednesday sentenced to three months in prison or $200 fine for overstaying in the country following the expiry of his visitor’s visa. 

Eliezer Berland
Eliezer Berland

Berland was arrested on Monday evening at a hideout in the city after detectives from the Joshua Mqabuko Border Control got a tip -off that his visa had expired.

Berland who heads one of the largest Jewish educational institutions in Jerusalem was on Tuesday convicted by Bulawayo senior magistrate Sibongile Msipa for contravening Section 29 (1) (b) chapter 4:02 and section 29 (2)

(a) of the immigration Act (entering or remaining in the country without visitors entry certificate and remaining in the country).

In her ruling, Msipa ordered that Berland should be immediately deported after completing his sentence or paying the fine.

His lawyer, Sindiso Mazibisa of Cheda and Partners said he was not happy with the sentenance saying the offence was minor which could have been amicably resolved between the accused and the immigration officials.

In mitigation Mazibisa also submitted that his client was an internationally recognized religious leader of ill-health, on medication as well as a married father of six children who had not committed any other crime during his stay in the country.

Berland has for a number of weeks been living in various up market city lodges and hotels .He also been leading worship in a synagogue in Khumalo suburb. He arrived in the country in December last year under the guise of religious tourism.

Berland is facing sexual and rape allegations in homeland, Israel. The allegations came to light in 2012 when the newspaper Israel Hayom reported an incident in which one of Berland’s students encountered him at home standing beside a naked woman. The Zimbabwean