February 17, 2007 / 7:00 PM / in 11 years

Police identify suspect in Elie Wiesel attack

<p>Noble Laureate Elie Wiesel speaks about the report he helped prepare discussing the situation in North Korea at the United Nations in New York November 16, 2006. Police have issued an arrest warrant for a New Jersey man suspected of accosting Wiesel in the elevator of a San Francisco hotel in early February. REUTERS/Chip East</p>

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Police have issued an arrest warrant for a New Jersey man suspected of accosting Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel in the elevator of a San Francisco hotel in early February.

Eric Hunt, 22, was being sought on charges of attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime, according to the warrant issued by San Francisco police on Friday.

Wiesel, 78, was attending the World Forum, an interfaith conference on non-violent conflict resolution, when he was accosted on February 1 at the Argent Hotel, according to police.

The suspect got into an elevator with Wiesel and insisted he accompany him to his room for an interview. At the sixth floor, the suspect forced the author into the corridor and ran away when Wiesel began to yell, the authorities said.

A Holocaust denier who gave his name as “Eric Hunt” wrote in a February 6 posting on an anti-Semitic Web site about why he had confronted Wiesel, who has written extensively on the Holocaust.

“I had planned to bring Wiesel to my hotel room where he would truthfully answer my questions regarding the fact that his non-fiction Holocaust memoir, ‘Night,’ is almost entirely fictitious,” the writer said.

Attempts to reach the writer for comment were unsuccessful on Saturday.

Wiesel was 15 years old when his Jewish family was deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz concentration camp. He lost his parents and younger sister in the Holocaust.

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