An Israeli Arab man was arrested in Egypt and locked in a cell for days after a policeman saw him taking photos and became suspicious of his Israeli citizenship, the Ynet news site reported Tuesday.
Ouda Masarwa of Taybeh said he traveled to Cairo last week to watch the Africa Cup of Nations soccer final.
“When I came to the area of the stadium I started taking photos,” Masarwa told Ynet. “Suddenly a policeman came and started asking me strange questions like ‘What are you doing?’ I told him I was taking photos so he asked ‘Who are you taking them for?’ I told him they were for my own personal use.”
The police asked for Masarwa’s passport and saw he was Israeli. “He told me ‘You’re Israeli, what are you doing here and why do you speak Arabic?’ I explained to him I was of the 1948 Arabs,” Masarwa said, referencing a name for Israeli Arabs. “Maybe he didn’t know who we are… We argued and then he told me ‘You’re under arrest.'”
Masarwa said he was questioned at the police station and then held for four days in a 2×2 meter (6×6 foot) cell.
MK Ahmad Tibi of the Ta’al party assisted in securing Masarwa’s release.
“I spoke with the authorities in Egypt for many hours. They realized a misunderstanding had occurred,” Tibi said.