Report: Egypt to Free Ilan Grapel in US Deal for Money, Politics
Egypt has agreed to release dual U.S.-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel on Tuesday, according to a report published in the London-based pan-Arabic daily newspaper Al-Hayat. After nearly four months, Egyptian sources quoted in the report said authorities decided that Grapel did not spy for Israel or the U.S.
Grapel, 27, was arrested nearly four months on charges of being an Israeli spy by Egyptian transitional government authorities. He was accused of spying for Israel, and inciting riots following the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak in the Tahrir Square Revolution.
Family and friends called the charges absurd, given that the Johns Hopkins University graduate was in Egypt to study Arabic culture, for which he has had long abiding passion. A number of Egyptians considered the charges to be bogus as well.
Two weeks ago, a Cairo court decided to extend Grapel's remand by another 45 days, refusing a request by U.S. representatives to set him free.
The decision was suddenly reversed after the Obama administration agreed to increase its political and financial support to Egypt if Grapel were to be released, according to a report by the official Egyptian MENA news agency.
According to the report, Grapel will return to the United States with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who is expected to visit Cairo this week.