An Israeli who was detained last December has had his detention extended by a further 15 days. The Israeli ministry of foreign affairs confirmed on Tuesday that the prisoner, Andre Pschenichnikov, is serving his second extended detention.
By law, Egypt may detain a suspect for 15 days, and may also extend this in 15 day blocks for up to a total of 45 days before the prisoner must be released or charged.
Paul Hirschon, the Israeli foreign ministry media spokesperson, said the government is providing the usual legal assistance and attention offered by the embassy to any Israeli citizen in Egypt. He said that the process is a commonplace procedure and Israel “does not interfere in a country’s internal affairs.”
“We provide our citizens with the legal representation and any religious comforts they mayneed such as kosher food,” Hirschon said. “If and when a person is convicted, depending on any agreement between both nations and what that person is convicted of, it is standard procedure to have that person do the jail time in their home country.”
Hirschon added that Israel was doing what it could on a consular level according to Israeli, international and bilateral laws.
Pschenichnikov is a Russian-Israeli believed to be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. He was arrested by Israeli troops attempting to cross the Israeli border into Egypt and had his passports confiscated. After being released and told not to attempt the crossing, he was caught by Egyptian security forces near the Taba border where he was reportedly caught with no documentation asking local drivers for information about the area.
It is rumoured that Pschenichnikov had asked for political asylum in Egypt out of fear for persecution in Israel. When he was arrested it was reported he had been attempting to cross into Gaza via Egypt because Israelis are not permitted to do so from Israel for security reasons.