The arrest of an Israeli man in Greece last week for drug trafficking may be the result of mistaken identity, according to a Foreign Ministry missive sent to Greece on Monday after the Interpol photo that led to the arrest was made public.
Dudi Ashkenazi, 52, is being held in detention on Kos island in the Aegean Sea and is scheduled to face court later this week. However, the blurred image of the suspect’s face provided by Interpol does not look like Ashkenazi.
The ministry sent the letter to officials in Athens on Sunday, charging that they had arrested the wrong man.
Ashkenazi was arrested while on vacation with his wife Racheli on Kos after an international red notice was posted by Interpol accusing a man with the same name of committing drug offenses while in Peru in 2022. However, Ashkenazi was a driver and manager at the Dan bus company and claims that he was not in Peru at that time.
Interpol’s warrant was posted in connection with an incident on June 16, 2012, in Lima, Peru. The suspect holds dual Azerbaijan-Israeli citizenship and is nicknamed “El Doc” (the Doctor in Spanish). He is claimed to be a member of an international criminal organization that flies drugs from Peru to Russia.
Ashkenazi’s lawyer Nir Yaslovitzh said he was on his way to Greece with “irrefutable documents proving that Ashkenazi, detained right now in Greece, was unjustly arrested.”
“There is another Dudi Ashkenazi who is walking around free right now, and he is in fact the criminal that needs to be caught,” Yaslovitzh added, calling on Foreign Minister Yair Lapid “to do everything in his power to release Dudi Ashkenazi immediately.”
Speaking to the Walla news site on Monday, Ashkenazi said he was staying strong for his family and had faith in his lawyer and the Foreign Ministry.
“I want to get out already and look forward to being reunited with my extended family,” he said, adding: “After this experience, I will never fly out of the country again.”
Racheli Ashkenazi told 103 FM radio on Sunday that the experience was a “nightmare.”
Racheli recounted that upon arrival she and her husband were detained for several hours at passport control, when officers “threw a few words at us without a lot of information, that my husband is accused of drug dealing and that he has Azerbaijani citizenship.
“He was never in Azerbaijan. He never had Azerbaijani citizenship,” she claimed.