An Israeli from Bat Yam has been arrested, and is under detention, in Egypt. Andrei Pashnichikov, 25, has been in jail in prison since Friday, he told his mother by phone Sunday. The Foreign Ministry has confirmed that he was arrested.
The charges against Pashnichikov are unclear, as are the circumstances surrounding his presence in Egypt. It is also not known where he was arrested – in “mainland” Egypt, or in Sinai. Foreign Ministry officials said they are trying to clarify the matter with Egypt.
Israelis who have been arrested in Egypt in recent years have not fared well. In 2011, Israeli-American citizen Ilan Grapel was arrested on charges of espionage in Egypt, and despite the fact that there was no evidence whatsoever that he was a spy, Grapel was held without trial and without being charged for nearly six months. In the end, Israel was forced to release 25 Egyptians – several of whom were indeed spies – in exchange for Grapel.
Still in prison in Egypt is Israeli citizen Ouda Tarabin, a Bedouin who accidentally entered Sinai in 2000. He was arrested and accused of spying on Egypt as well. No evidence has been presented in his case either, with the entire case resting on a forced testimony by his cousin, Eid Suleiman, who was arrested for similar charges in 1999 and is also currently imprisoned. Tarabin is said to be held in the same Cairo cell that held Azzam Azzam, an Israeli who was held by Egypt for neatly eight years, between 1996 and 2004.