The lawyer for an Israeli man arrested in Greece for alleged drug trafficking expressed high hopes Friday that his client would soon be recognized as a victim of mistaken identity and freed.
Nir Yaslovitzh said he presented documents to Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras and Attorney General Vasilias Milanunis that proved Dudi Ashkenazi, 52, is not the suspect wanted by Interpol and police in Peru.
“The meeting was positive and very good,” Yaslovitzh told the Walla news site. “If I was optimistic beforehand, I’m even more optimistic now [that my client will be released].”
Ashkenazi was arrested last week, while vacationing, on an Interpol warrant for a dual Israeli-Azerbaijani citizen named Dudi Ashkenazi who allegedly trafficked drugs between Peru and Russia in 2012.
He has been jailed on the Greek island of Kos and will be brought before a panel of judges in Rhodes on Tuesday for a hearing on his appeal against the arrest.
He, his family and the Israeli government maintain that he did not commit the crimes. He has said that he was celebrating his daughter’s bat mitzvah at the time of the alleged crimes and was not in Peru, Channel 12 news reported.
His wife has said he does not hold Azerbaijani citizenship.
According to Channel 12, Israeli police told Interpol they believe Greece has arrested the wrong man after discovering that the warrant contains the identification number of another individual with the same name.
At a hearing in Rhodes on Monday, Greek prosecutors did not explicitly reject Ashkenazi’s claim but said they wanted to investigate further, Ynet said then.
That same day, the Foreign Ministry contacted the Greek foreign ministry after the photo attached to the warrant was released, saying his arrest was likely a result of misidentification.
Yaslovitzh has reportedly sent Greek officials an additional corroborative letter from the Foreign Ministry incorporating updated information from Israeli authorities and Interpol.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias on Wednesday and requested Ashkenazi’s immediate release.