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Warrant issued in Wiesel incident

February 17, 2007|From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Police on Friday issued an arrest warrant for a New Jersey man accused of roughing up Nobel laureate and Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel at a hotel here earlier this month.

The warrant issued for Eric Hunt, 22, of Sussex County is for charges including attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and committing a hate crime, according to police.

Wiesel was a featured speaker at a Feb. 1 peace forum at the Argent Hotel. He was approached in the lobby by a white man in his 20s who asked for an interview, police said.

Wiesel agreed to talk in the lobby, but the man insisted that the interview be conducted in a hotel room and got into the elevator with Wiesel.

Once on the sixth floor, the suspect allegedly dragged the 78-year-old off the elevator. Wiesel began yelling, and the suspect escaped on the elevator, police said. Wiesel then reported the incident to the police.

Officers have said that investigators were aware that a man had claimed responsibility for the attack in a posting to an anti-Semitic website registered in Australia. But police would not comment further Friday.

In an interview with the Milan, Italy-based newspaper Corriere della Sera, Wiesel said the incident made him fear for his life and left him shaken. It's essential to discover who the perpetrator was, Wiesel said, and whether he acted alone or as part of a group.

Wiesel could not be reached for comment at Boston University, where he teaches, or through the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies in New York.

Attempts to reach Eric Hunt in Sussex County were unsuccessful.

Wiesel survived the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during World War II. He has worked for human rights around the world and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

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