Rabbi granted bail

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY DANA GLOGER

A CHAREDI rabbi was granted bail on ap­peal at Lon­don’s High Court last week, af­ter he was orig­i­nally de­nied it by mag­is­trates.

The Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment is seek­ing to ex­tra­dite Avrum Friesel, 55, on 19 fraud charges, al­legedly com­mit­ted in late 1980s and early 1990s. The charges re­late to his time as town clerk of New Square Town in New York, a Cha­sidic com­mu­nity of the Skverer sect.

He moved to Stam­ford Hill, Lon­don, in 1999, and was ar­rested in April this year.

Al­though the strictly Ortho­dox com­mu­nity has put up over £1 mil­lion of sureties, Rabbi Friesel was de­nied bail by West­min­ster Mag­is­trates last month. The pros­e­cu­tion ar­gued that he might ab­scond if bailed and sug­gested that the Stam­ford Hill com­mu­nity had know­ingly pro­tected him.

His bar­ris­ters, Gary Grant and Jonathan Gold­berg QC, ar­gued that the sureties had been of­fered by in­de­pen­dent peo­ple who did not know of his past. They said they had re­ceived many let­ters from peo­ple in the Charedi com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing Rabbi Avra­ham Pin­ter, at­test­ing to Rabbi Friesel’s good char­ac­ter and his teach­ing work with dis­abled chil­dren.

Mr Gold­berg said: “It is an ex­tra­or­di­nary story, which has echoes of Jean Val­jean and Les Mis­er­ables, in the way he has come into a strange com­mu­nity and achieved such a good rep­u­ta­tion de­spite his hid­den past.”

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