‘We won’t stop’: 3 Israelis released by DSS say
After three weeks in detention, Israelis arrested in Nigeria and accused of helping IPOB speak out.
After their release, Rudy Rochman, David Benaym, and Noam Leibman, the three Israelis arrested in Nigeria and jailed for three weeks by the DSS on suspicion of assisting IPOB, granted an interview.
Rudy Rochman, a Zionist activist, and David Nenaym, a French-Israeli journalist, were apprehended alongside director Noam Leibman in a synagogue in Ogidi village, Anambra State, where they went to produce a documentary called “We Were Never Lost.”
They were apprehended and transported to Abuja, where they were interrogated and held for three weeks before being allowed to return to Israel.
They immediately gave an interview when they arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel.
They expressed their gratitude for being released after three weeks in custody, but they stated that they will continue to convey the narrative of Jewish life in Nigeria.
Rudy Rochman said during the interview: “We just went through 3 weeks in a cage locked up for no reason. We did nothing wrong. We just came there to show the stories of the Jewish life in Nigeria – the Igbos – and though we were not able to do our full project, we’re still not gonna stop and we’re still going to share the stories and showcase that they get recognition and that people understand who they are.
“But, obviously, we’re very tired and very happy to be back home.”
Later in the conversation, Noam, the third man held by the DSS, joined in and expressed regret that they were unable to accomplish the job that brought them to Nigeria.
“we’re not giving up for the future.” he continued, despite the fact that they couldn’t get it done today.
The guys claimed that they stated on their social media accounts prior to their detention that they were not involved with any secessionist movement, but that this did not prevent them from being arrested.
They were apprehended by “about a dozen armed men in ski masks” who assured them they were only going to question them for “30 minutes”
The men, however, claimed that they kept them all night and forced them to sleep on the floor.
“We ended up staying there the entire night and then the next morning, they wake us up from sleeping on the floor,” Rudy Rochman said, adding, “They stuff us back with black ski masks at gun point into cars and they took us 9 hour drive to Abuja, very dangerous drive, just swerving and speeding all over. And then we find ourselves 20 days, locked up in a cage over there.”
Rochamn claimed that due process was not followed and that they were regarded as criminals despite the fact that they were not officially arrested or accused.
He continued: “And at no point were we actually arrested. They didn’t tell us that we were accused of something, they didn’t tell us you’re officially arrested of something. And their status of ‘invited’ is what allows them to not allow us to have a lawyer, not allow us to have a phone call, not allow us to have any rights…”
They urged the security agents that they should let them go because they were not under arrest, but the men informed them, “if you go, then we’ll stop you.”
They attempted to flee a couple times, but “they jumped on us and threw us back into the cage.” according to Rochman.