Andrey Pshenichnikov, a former IDF soldier who had infiltrated into Egypt, was sentenced Monday to two years in prison.
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The Judge at Nuweiba Court overturned the Sharm el-Sheikh court decision from two weeks ago, to deport Pshenichnikov to Israel. The public prosecution appealed that decision, and the court ruled that Pshenichnikov must present his passport.
His friends and family in Israel managed to obtain the passport – that was confiscated by Eilat police before he crossed into Egypt, but on Monday, the Israeli and his attorney were surprised that the judge rejected his plea to be deported to Israel and sentenced him to two years in prison.
Another Israeli citizen, Ahmad Daif from Umm al-Fahm, was also sentenced to two years. Daif infiltrated into Egypt for ideological reasons, saying that he refused to live under Israeli rule.
Pshenichnikov made headlines six months ago when he moved to the Palestinian Territories “as part of the political struggle for Palestinian rights,” in his words.
Pshenichnikov’s stay in the West Bank ended three weeks later, after Palestinian security forces arrested him, at Israel’s request. The Palestinian forces searched his home, interrogated him and transferred him to the Israeli authorities.
Born in the Soviet Union, Andrey Pshenichnikov, 24, moved to Israel eleven years ago. He served in the Israel Defense Forces, including an extra 18 months as a career soldier.
Last month, the Egyptian court ordered the release of Pshenichnikov. A delegation made up of his parents, friends and attorney Adnan Aladin had gone to Egypt to try and expedite his release.
According to his friend Liz Sagie, who had also gone to Egypt, the authorities' treatment was kind and extraordinarily effective. "They let us sit with him, hug him, he agreed to break his hunger strike and they let us give him food," she said.
Pshenichnikov was transferred from the detention center in Dahab to the court in Sharm el-Sheikh. In accordance to Egyptian law, attorney Aladin was not allowed to represent Pshenichnikov, and he used the services of a local lawyer. After a brief session, the judge ordered his release back to Israel.