After languishing for months in a Madrid jail on drug-trafficking charges, Rabbi Eli Hecht has been released to house arrest. Four prior attempts to have him released on bail were rejected.
Hecht was arrested upon arrival at Madrid’s airport after narcotics were found in the lining of a suitcase he was transporting for his host in Costa Rica, his place of departure.
His jail stay has been a far from pleasant one, enduring many hardships, in part brought about by the Spaniards’ unfamiliarity with his religious needs.
The committee set up to procure his release, headed by Rabbi Zev Crombie, has been working fervently so that he does not have to spend the Pesach holiday behind bars.
Despite the rejection of their four previous attempts, they recently submitted yet another request for bail, filed by three of the top attorneys in Madrid.
At the conclusion of the bail hearing one of the attorneys turned to committee member Rabbi Ben Zakan telling him that there was no precedence for such a release, and thus he believes the chances of success are close to nil.
To everyone’s surprise however, the judge agreed to the release, prompting the non-Jewish attorney to write in a follow-up email “now I see there’s a G-d in heaven.”
It remains unclear whether Eli will be placed under house arrest in Madrid proper or he will be allowed to stay at the home of the Shliach in Barcelona, Rabbi Dovid Libersohn.
Under usual circumstances, when bail is granted, it significantly delays the trial date. Yet the committee members are arduously at work to have such a delay averted.
The committee members stressed that the road ahead is still a long one, until Eli is completely exonerated, and the truth comes to light that his naivete was merely taken advantage of by his Costa Rican host.
Letters to Eli can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations to cover the exorbitant legal fees for the pending trial can be submitted via www.ebz.org.il.
All are asked to continue praying for the speedy release of Eliyahu Rachamim ben Rochel.