International Law

Emory Law Student Accused of Spying Is Freed in Israeli Prisoner Exchange

A third-year Emory University law student who was arrested in Egypt earlier this year and accused of spying for Israel has been freed and the case against him has been dropped.

Ilan Grapel, 27, who is a dual American-Israeli citizen, was exchanged for 25 Egyptians held in Israel, in a U.S.-brokered exchange spearheaded by his family’s local congressman, Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-Queens, N.Y., the New York Times (reg. req.) reported. His family and Israel officials say he never spied for Mossad, as Egyptian officials have contended he did.

An Arabic speaker and a former Israeli army paratrooper, Grapel was interested in other cultures and apparently supportive of pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt earlier this year, according to the BBC News. He may have naively underestimated the hostility with which someone of his background might be viewed as he reportedly maintained a photo of himself in Israeli army uniform on his Facebook page, was photographed holding a protest sign in Cairo and openly consulted a Hebrew-Arabic dictionary in public.

Additional coverage: “Emory Law Student Arrested in Egypt, Accused of Spying for Israel”

Jerusalem Post: “Ilan Grapel lands in Israel after being freed by Egypt”

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