Israeli detained by Greece in mistaken identity case cleared to return home

Dudi Ashkenazi was released from detention in early July but was unable to leave Greece until receiving clearance from Peru, which issued the international warrant for his arrest

Dudi Ashkenazi at a cafe in Kos, Greece, in footage aired on July 6, 2022. (Screen capture/Channel 12)
Dudi Ashkenazi at a cafe in Kos, Greece, in footage aired on July 6, 2022. (Screen capture/Channel 12)

An Israeli detained in Greece since late June in what Jerusalem said was a mix-up is set to be cleared by Greek authorities to return to Israel, Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s office said Friday.

Dudi Ashkenazi was arrested on an Interpol warrant for a dual Israeli-Azerbaijani citizen with the same name who allegedly trafficked drugs between Peru and Russia in 2012. He was imprisoned for two weeks while awaiting trial but was ultimately released on July 5 following an emergency hearing, but was unable to leave until receiving official clearance from Peru, which had issued the warrant.

Sa’ar had previously spoken to Greek Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras and had asked for his help clearing Ashkenazi’s name two weeks ago, his office said.

Ashkenazi was released after his lawyer traveled to Greece and presented Tsiaras and Greek Attorney General Vasilias Milanunis with various official documents, including from the Israel Police.

Convinced by the documents, they scheduled an emergency hearing for the following Monday; Ashkenazi was released from detention immediately after the hearing.

Israeli officials advocated for his release while he was imprisoned. In late June, the police told Interpol they believe Greece had arrested the wrong man after discovering that the warrant contains the identification number of another individual with the same name, and the Foreign Ministry contacted its Greek counterpart after the photo attached to the warrant was released, saying his arrest was likely a result of misidentification.

Ashkenazi said that he was celebrating his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah at the time of the alleged drug trafficking, and said that he did not have Azerbaijani citizenship, which Azerbaijani authorities confirmed, Ynet reported.

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