Johannesburg’s Randburg Magistrates Court ruled on Thursday that Rabbi Eliezer Berland is to be extradited to Israel, reports Walla news.
Berland, who heads the Shuvu Banim sect, fled from Israel in 2012 after several women as well as a 15-year-old girl laid charges of sexual assault against him.
He evaded capture in the United States, Switzerland, Morocco and Zimbabwe and managed to avoid extradition from Holland.
In April, Berland was finally arrested in South Africa where he has been hiding out.
Before Passover, Berland urged the court to let him post bail while his followers vowed he would not attempt to flee. However, the judges denied the request due to his track record of fleeing to numerous countries in recent years as he evaded justice in Israel.
During the Passover holiday, approximately 15,000 people prayed for his release at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron and hundreds of Berland’s followers demonstrated outside the South African embassy in Ramat Gan calling for their leader’s release, claiming their rabbi is being detained under “appalling conditions.”
Earlier this month, Chief Rabbi of Migdal HaEmek Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman flew to Johannesburg in an attempt to release Berland from prison.
Though he maintains his innocence, Berland is expected to arrive in Israel in the upcoming week.