Man Arrested In Elie Wiesel Assault

Eli Weisel (left) and Eric Hunt, 22, who is accused of assaulting him AP/Montgomery County Police

A man accused of roughing up Nobel laureate and Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel at a San Francisco hotel earlier this month was arrested Saturday in New Jersey, authorities said.

Montgomery Township police arrested Eric Hunt, 22, of Sussex County, N.J., at 1:30 p.m. EST Saturday. He faces charges that include attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime, according to San Francisco police.

He was being held without bail in the Somerset County Jail in New Jersey, awaiting extradition to San Francisco.

Wiesel, 78, was a featured speaker at a Feb. 1 peace forum at the Argent Hotel in San Francisco. He was approached in the lobby by a white man in his 20s who asked for an interview, police said.

Authorities said Wiesel agreed to talk in the lobby, but the man insisted the interview be conducted in a hotel room, and got into the elevator with Wiesel. Once on the sixth floor, the suspect dragged Wiesel from the elevator, police said.

Wiesel began yelling, and the suspect ran away down the elevator, police said.

Police have said they were aware that a man claimed responsibility for the attack in a posting on an anti-Semitic Web site registered in Australia. Police have not commented further on the case.

San Francisco police Lt. Dan Mahoney said he doesn't believe Hunt belonged to a larger organization.

"He is a lone wolf and not part of an organization or group," he said.

Wiesel couldn't immediately be reached for comment Saturday at Boston University, where he teaches, or through his institute in New York. Police in New Jersey and San Francisco said they did not know if Hunt had retained an attorney.

Wiesel, who survived the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during World War II, has worked for human rights in many parts of the world and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
  • James Klatell

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