Posted Jun 14, 2011 11:26 am CDT
A third-year Emory law student was arrested Sunday in Cairo and accused of spying for Israeli intelligence.
The semiofficial Egyptian daily Al-Ahram said the 27-year-old student, Ilan Grapel, was a suspected “Mossad officer who tried to sabotage the Egyptian revolution,” the Associated Press reports. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said Grapel encouraged violence against the military, and between Muslims and Christians, during the protests that led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, denied Grapel was a spy, report CNN and the Associated Press in a separate story. So did his mother, Irene Grapel. “Law students don’t have time to be spies,” she said.
Grapel said her son had received a public service grant from Emory and had traveled to Egypt to volunteer for St. Andrew’s Refugee Services in Cairo. Grapel had been a paratrooper in the Israeli Army, and he spoke Arabic well, but he didn’t work in intelligence, according to his parents.
AP quotes Emory classmate Rebecca Peskin, who didn’t believe the spy allegations. “I don’t think a Mossad agent would post things on Facebook, travel under his own name and get a grant from law school to travel,” she said. “This is a big misunderstanding.”
Hat tip to Above the Law.