Monday, June 13, 2011

Emory law student arrested in Eygpt on allegations of spying

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 3:31 PM

An Emory University law student who was spending the summer in Egypt as an intern for a legal aid group was arrested yesterday in Cairo on spying allegations.

Ilam Grapel, 27, was pictured in an Egyptian newspaper and was identified by the newspaper as a "Mossad officer who tried to sabotage the Egyptian revolution."

ABC News spoke with Grapel's mother, who says the charges are "complete fabrications.":

Grapel, from New York, served in the Israeli military as a paratrooper and was injured in combat in 2006 in the Lebanon War. His mother said he is currently enrolled in Emory Law School and had received a small stipend from the school for his work in Egypt. School officials were not available to confirm Grapel was part of a program, but the year previous a man by the same name won a grant to work with the Supreme Court of Israel, according to the school's website.

Ilan Grapel's mother said it was likely many pictures Grapel took and posted on Facebook of the widespread protests in Egypt, coupled with his history in the Israeli military, that prompted his detention. A picture of Grapel smiling in his Israel Defense Forces uniform was featured in several Egyptian news reports.

Diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo visited with Grapel, who they say is in good health, and are working with Egyptian officials for his release. CL attempts to contact Emory University for more information were unsuccessful.

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