Italian police investigate cable car survivor’s ‘abduction’
The maternal grandmother of a six-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of a cable car crash in northern Italy is being investigated over the alleged abduction of the child after he was flown to Israel against the wishes of his paternal relatives in Italy, according to local press reports.
Eitan Biran, whose parents and two-year-old brother died in the Stresa-Mottarone aerial tramway crash on 23 May, has been at the
centre of a bitter custody battle between relatives in Italy and Israel.
Prosecutors in the city of Pavia in northern Italy had already put the maternal grandfather under investigation for alleged abduction after he brought the boy to Israel on Saturday.
His maternal grandmother is also said to be under investigation for helping her former husband organise the alleged abduction, which reportedly involved the boy being taken across the border to Lugano in Switzerland before being flown by private plane to Tel Aviv.
“We know there is a [legal] procedure for aggravated kidnapping and failure to comply with orders from the authority, but we have not been given the names of the suspects,” said Armando Simbari, a lawyer representing Eitan’s relatives in Italy.
Israel’s Channel 13 reported yesterday that the boy’s family in Italy had submitted a petition to a Tel Aviv court for his return to Italy.
Eitan, whose parents were Israeli nationals resident in Italy, had been living with his paternal aunt Aya Biran-Nirko in Pavia since she was granted temporary custody of him in June.
Gali Peleg, Eitan’s maternal aunt in Tel Aviv, has begun an adoption process. Speaking to Israel’s Radio 103FM, Peleg denied he had been abducted. “What happened is that we brought Eitan home,” she said.