Eitan Biran: Israel court orders return of cable car crash survivor to Italy

Israel supreme court rejects appeal by boy's grandfather Shmuel Peleg.

Eitan Biran, the six-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of a cable car crash in May, must be returned to his family in Italy, a supreme court judge in Israel ruled on Monday.

Israel's high court of justice rejected an appeal by the boy's maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg, who is accused of bringing the child to Tel Aviv illegally on a private plane from Switzerland on 11 September.

Upholding two lower court rulings, Judge Alex Stein ordered the boy to be sent back to live in Italy by 12 December with his paternal Israeli-Italian aunt, Aya Biran, who announced the news in the Italian media.

Eitan - whose parents, two-year-old brother and great-grandparents were among the 14 people killed in the tragedy in Mottarone - had been placed in the custody of his paternal aunt Aya Biran and her family who live in Pavia, northern Italy.

However the boy has since become the subject of a bitter custody battle, with his mother's family insisting he should move to Israel despite having lived in Italy since he was a baby.

The supreme court ruled on Monday that as Eitan has "lived in Italy almost all of his life" he could not be removed from his "habitual residence", according to reports in Italian media.

The verdict found that Italy had been chosen by the child's parents as the place to settle indefinitely: they had moved "without setting a date for their return to Israel".

Furthermore the court ruled that Peleg ''did not provide a valid reason why the return to Italy could cause psychological or physical damage to the child.''

Photo Times of Israel