The Israeli president contacts Al-Sisi and asks him to use his presidential powers to lighten the sentence of an Israeli serving a life sentence.

President Reuven Rivlin has asked Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi to use his power of clemency for an Israeli imprisoned on a life sentence.

Last week, Rivlin sent a letter to his Egyptian counterpart regarding the citizen, Muaz Zahalka, who was arrested five years ago at the Taba border crossing. He was escorting a group of Ukrainian tourists to a resort in the Sinai Peninsula.

Egyptian President Al-Sisi (Photo: AP)
Egyptian President Al-Sisi (Photo: AP)


During routine examination, Egyptian officials discovered that Zahalka had brought a wooden box containing a huge cross that concealed a submachine gun and two magazines. The Israeli claimed in interrogations that he had been asked to bring the box to a Ukrainian tour guide in Sharm el-Sheikh, and he was completely unaware of its contents.

Zahalka and the Ukrainian tour guide were sentenced by an Egyptian military tribunal to life imprisonment. The indictment claimed that the two intended to implicate Egyptian security forces in a terrorist attack in the Sinai, as the submachine gun was of the same make as those issued to security services.

During his interrogations, Zahalka denied his involvement, maintaining that he was “doing a favor” for those to whom he was bringing the box.

Rivlin’s letter asks Al-Sisi to pardon Zahalka, reduce his sentence, or transfer him to serve out his sentence in an Israeli prison.

Zahalka is 38 years old, single and from the village Kafr Qara to the west of Umm al-Fahm. He is related to MK Dr. Jamal Zahalka (Joint List). He is being held in solitary confinement.

Since his arrest, Zahalka has been permitted monthly visits from the Israeli consul in Cairo. However, over the past four months, when the Israeli Embassy to Egypt has been closed due to security concerns, the visits have not taken place.

As reported by Ynetnews