Police ‘harassing’ CEO of ultra-Orthodox website, attorney claims
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Police ‘harassing’ CEO of ultra-Orthodox website, attorney claims

Man suspected of repeated blackmail to be held in custody for five additional days

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The CEO suspected of blackmail is brought in front of a judge on Wednesday (screen caption of Channel 2 News/Mako)
The CEO suspected of blackmail is brought in front of a judge on Wednesday (screen caption of Channel 2 News/Mako)

Police are harassing the CEO of an ultra-Orthodox website because he posted pictures of the district chief of police in an SS uniform, the man’s attorney told the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

In the latest development of the ongoing blackmail saga, the main suspect’s lawyer stated his client was being harassed by the Jerusalem police because of pictures published on the site years ago.

Requesting the man be remanded for 10 additional days, police told the court that the case has crossed borders, expanding beyond Israel and involving the larger Jewish world.

There is reason to believe the man’s release will endanger the ongoing investigation, since the display and lack-of-display of content related to the blackmail is controlled by him, a police representative explained.

The court ruled to have him held for five more days.

The CEO of the popular ultra-Orthodox news site “Behadrei Haredim” is still being held in custody, while others who had initially been arrested with him have since been released. His name is still under a publication ban.

Nissan Shaham, Jerusalem district police chief, called the case the worst blackmail case he has ever witnessed, saying the people in charge extracted millions of shekels from people in the ultra-Orthodox world.

Behadrei Haredim, a site offering news and discussion forums for ultra-Orthodox readers, is one of the most popular websites among members of the insular community. Police believe members of its management blackmailed people in two main ways: posting false reports and demanding money for their removal; and charging payments to keep stories from being published.

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