Sunday, December 05, 2004

Azzam Azzam: Finally Free

As part of a characteristically lopsided prisoner exchange deal with Egypt, Azzam Azzam is finally free.

In return, Israel released six Egyptian students who had infiltrated Israel for criminal purposes:

The six Egyptians were indicted in the Beersheba District Court in September on charges of infiltrating into Israel, planning to kidnap soldiers and negotiate their return in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, take control of a military tank, and rob a bank.
The six, students from Cairo, ranging in age from 25 to 30, were caught by border policemen three weeks ago near the southern town of Nitzana along the Egyptian-Israeli border equipped with knives and reconnaissance equipment.

The trumped-up charge against Azzam Azzam—that, as the manager of a textile factory in Cairo, he passed on Egyptian state secrets by soaking women’s underwear in invisible ink—was utterly ridiculous. The Egyptian students, on the other hand, actually committed the crimes for which Israel imprisoned them.

That’s just business as usual where Israel is concerned. But at least we can be grateful that an innocent man is at long last on his way home.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a section on the arrest and trial of Azzam Azzam.

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