Daily Israel Report

Israeli in Indian Prison After Forgetting Bullet in Backpack

Steve Silvenchev is one of several Israelis who are or have been in prison abroad for the 'crime' of forgetting to clean out a backpack.
By Yosef Berger
First Publish: 4/17/2014, 12:40 PM

India
India
Israel News photo: Flash 90

Steve Silvenchev, an Israeli tourist in India, had been in jail in Mumbai for seven months, after authorities there found a bullet in a backpack that he had used at times during his stint in the IDF. They were detected when he went through security in Mumbai when he arrived on what was planned to be a post-army hike. Equipment at Ben Gurion Airport did not pick up the bullets.

In an interview with Army Radio Thursday, Steve said that he had been waiting for his trial for several months. “I don't know why they keep delaying the trial, but my lawyer has told me that everything is ready for the trial,” he said.

The Israeli Embassy, he said, has been unable to help him. “I met with them last last week and they said that, with all the sorrow they could express, that they cannot get involved in an Indian legal matter. All they could do, he said, was write to the Foreign Ministry in Israel requesting assistance. “Beyond that, they cannot do anything,” he said.

Steve described the difficult situation he has had to undergo. “At first I didn't believe what was happening to me,” he said. “Afterwards I was unsure what would happen, as nobody bothered to speak with me. No one updated me on my situation.”

Steve's mother, speaking to the interviewer, said that it was difficult to celebrate Passover and other events under the circumstances. According to Israeli legal sources, similar cases have occurred in India and South American countries, with Israelis imprisoned for months or years because of a stray leftover bullet.