The Guardian

Italian police investigat­e cable car survivor’s ‘abduction’

- Angela Giuffrida Rome

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.

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