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      What About Odeh Tarabin?

      Attorney Isaac Meltzer says Ilan Grapel isn't the only Israeli held for suspicion of spying by Egyptian authorities; raises Odeh Tarbin case.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 6/24/2011, 1:52 PM / Last Update: 6/24/2011, 1:58 PM

      Alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel is not the only Israeli held in Egyptian custody on suspicion of spying today, Attorney Isaac Meltzer told Israel National News on Friday.

      "For ten years I have represented a resident of Rahat, Odeh Tarbin. A man who will be thirty next month. He went to Egypt to visit his sister and was arrested and taken to the Egyptian intelligence interrogators who accused him of spying. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison," Meltzer said.

      Meltzer told INN Egypt didn't officially inform Israel of Tarabin's arrest and incarceration until 2004, some three years after the fact. The secrecy surrounding Tarabin's arrest and trial is uncharacteristic of Egyptian authorities who have traditionally put on showy media trials for alleged Israeli spies.

      "Egypt's security services told the Israeli Embassy in 2004 of the arrest of Odeh. Odeh was sentenced in absentia for espionage. According to one of the stories published, Odeh's father was a collaborator of the IDF," Meltzer said.

      Meltzer believes the State of Israel must take steps to secure the release of his client.

      "I urge the Israeli government to work for his release. He is a citizen in every respect. His family has tied itself to the fate of Israel and we must help him," Meltzer said.

      "Despite its declarations, the Government of Israel has not done enough in this case. The Foreign Ministry has said all along they have a deep commitment to securing his release. Actually, I do not know if it is even on the agenda," Meltzer said.

      "There are some who say that if he was Jewish the State of Israel would have long been working for his release. I want to thank Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara for agreeing to press this issue," Meltzer added, noting Tarabin's Bedouin Arab  heritage. 

      Meltzer's comments come as Yitzhak Molho, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's legal adviser, is in Egypt Friday to discuss the Ilan Grapel case.

      On Thursday Egypt convicted 2 other Israelis in abentia for allegedly spying for the Jewish state. An Egyptian man was also convicted in that case.