Ilan Grapel tells his story
Dec 1, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman
Ilan Grapel, a twenty seven year old American-Israeli was finally released on October 27 in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners in Israel, after having spent four months in an Egyptian jail due to false allegations of espionage. In 2009, he was a Goldmann Fellow at AIJAC’s Melbourne office.
A month after his release, Grapel has told his story in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth. Grapel describes how he spent 150 days in a four-by-four metre room, two weeks of which he spent in complete confinement that made him “nearly lose his mind”.
Grapel said in the interview:
“I wasn’t tortured in prison. Not in the conventional sense of the word. They didn’t rip out my fingernails. They didn’t break my back. But I spent 150 days in a room with a bed, a chair and a barred window, without any company, without having any idea what the next move would be.”
Grapel also shared his most difficult moment:
“After two weeks in solitary confinement I told the investigator: Give me the death sentence. He answered: ‘That’s not possible; there isn’t war between Israel and Egypt .”
“In retrospect, Grapel still finds it hard to understand exactly what the Egyptians wanted from him. ‘I think I was arrested because I am Israeli and I was released because I am an American. And I think it took such a long time because the Egyptians didn’t know how to climb down the proverbial tree.”
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