Tag Archives: Ilan Grapel

Ilan Grapel arrives in Queens


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com


Ilan Grapel has arrived back in Queens, landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, October 29 after months in an Egyptian jail following allegations he was an Israeli spy.

Grapel was released from jail on Thursday, October 27 and flown to Israel, where he was reunited with his mother Irene and Congressmember Gary Ackerman on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport. He then departed for the U.S. early Saturday morning.

He was released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, according to Ackerman’s office, after being accused of spying for Israel and spending more than four months behind bars in Egypt.

“Grapel’s attorney, Abbe Lowell really helped win the case along with Ackerman,” said Daniel Grapel, Ilan’s father.
Grapel, who holds joint U.S. and Israeli citizenship, was volunteering for a group aiding Sudanese refugees in Egypt, while staying at a youth hostel. According to reports, he was detained by police who saw him carrying a protest sign at a demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in June. Grapel was accused of being an officer of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Service, despite records of entering the country with a legitimate passport.

Grapel graduated early from Johns Hopkins University, speaks fluent Arabic and Hebrew, served in Israel’s armed forces and had internships with Israel’s high court and in the Queens district office of Ackerman.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/31/2011: Home sweet home for Ilan Grapel


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Home sweet home for Ilan Grael

Ilan Grapel, the Queens law student freed after five months in an Egyptian prison, made an emotional return to US soil Saturday. Grapel , a law student at Emory University, was in Egypt to volunteer with a legal- aid group. In June, he arrested and accused of spying for Israel after posting photos of himself in Israeli military garb on his Facebook page. Read More: New York Post

 

Ticket-Fix Cases May Spread

The Queens District Attorney on Sunday said he expected to hear this week from his Bronx counterpart if there are any ticket-fixing cases in his borough to prosecute. Richard A. Brown said his office has been in contact with Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for “months,” regarding an investigation that resulted in the arrests of 16 officers on Friday, 11 on charges related to the common practice of making traffic tickets and other summonses disappear for family, friends and others. Read More: Wall Street Journal

Cleanup Continues In Wake Of Pre-Halloween Snowstorm

Record-breaking snowfall left 15,000 New Yorkers without power and downed trees strewn across the five boroughs Sunday, prompting major cleanup efforts from city workers and residents alike. City parks reopened Sunday afternoon after closing during the storm, but New Yorkers are urged to use caution because branches may still fall due to the extra weight from snow. Read More:  NY1

 

iPhone Slaying

A Queens teen was stabbed to death Saturday by a gang of thugs who wanted to steal his iPhone, police said. A group of four to six teens approached Patrick Dixon, 17, and demanded that he hand over his iPhone at around 11 a.m. on 142nd Street near Foch Boulevard in Jamaica, cops said. Dixon refused and fought back, and one of the teens slashed him in the neck. Read More: New York Post

 

Two off-duty NYPD officers in separate  DWI arrests 

Officer Ariel Rosa, 26, was busted on a DWI after he crashed into a parked car about 4:30 a.m. on Moffat St. between Knickerbocker and Wilson Aves. in Bushwick. He was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital determined to be drunk after a blood test at a local hospital where he was treated for a minor injury, police said. Another cop, Michael Botros, 29, was found asleep at 7:40 a.m. Friday inside his white Nissan with the keys still in the ignition in South Ozone Park, Queens. Police said he refused to take a Breathalyzer test and was arrested. Read More: Daily News

 

Ex-Councilman Allan Jennings sues Queens Chronicle, saying alleged ‘Asian-women’ mistruth cost him votes

Former city Councilman Allan Jennings is suing a weekly newspaper in Queens for defamation, saying it helped turn voters against him during last year’s Council race. Jennings said the Queens Chronicle erred in stating he had once put an advertisement in a Chinese-language newspaper “declaring his love for all Asian women.” He said the statement was made in an Oct. 28, 2010, article about his bid for his former 28th District seat. Ruben Wills won that special election. Read More: Daily News

 

Councilman lashes out with curse-filled rant at Queens auto business

A hot-headed City Councilman let loose a curse-filled tirade at a local car dealer last week that left stunned employees demanding an apology. Rothman received the brunt of two recent rants from Councilman Daniel Halloran, who says he’s fed up with noise from the repair shop that disturbs nearby residents. A video of Halloran’s visit to the shop last week shows the Queens Republican angrily threatening the shop with recriminations if it doesn’t keep its doors closed to control the noise. Read More: Daily News

 

Resorts World Opens

South Ozone Park’s Aqueduct Racino, reborn as Resorts World Casino New York City, officially opened its doors to an eager throng of thousands of gamers on Friday, October 28. Casino representatives and elected officials were on hand at the former Aqueduct Racino for the ribbon cutting, and to welcome those who came to play on opening day – a line which wrapped around the building, leaving visitors with at least a two hour wait. Read More: Queens Courier

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/28/2011: Ilan Grapel released from Egyptian prison, arrives in Israel


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Ilan Grapel released from Egyptian prison, arrives in Israel

A smiling Queens man and Israeli citizen imprisoned for months in Egypt on unsubstantiated suspicions of spying embraced his tearful mother, Irene, who traveled to Israel from her New York home to meet her son on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion International Airport after his release. Read More: NBC News

 

8 year old groped in Queens

Police say they are looking for a man accused of groping an 8-year-old girl inside a New York City store. The girl was shopping with her mother at a Queens clothing store when she wandered off to a book display. Police say the man then passed by her several times and grabbed her buttocks. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Ex-TSA agents admit to stealing cash from JFK bag

Two former Transportation Security Administration officers based at John F. Kennedy Airport have admitted to stealing $40,000 in cash from a checked bag. 44-year-old Coumar Persad, of Queens, and 31-year-old Davon Webb, of the Bronx, pleaded guilty on Thursday to grand larceny, obstructing governmental administration and official misconduct. They each face six months in jail and five years’ probation at their Jan. 10 sentencing. Read More: Wall Street Journal

Aqueduct racino opens in Queens; Controversial gambling zone anticipates big crowd on first day

A ribbon-cutting celebrating the completion of the first phase of the controversial race track gaming mecca will be held at 11 a.m. – and the doors open to the public at 1p.m. Inside are 2,300 video slot machines – and 2,000 electronic table games like baccarat and roulette, which some critics say oversteps the state ban on full-fledged casinos. Read More: Daily News

 

Couple fears returning to the streets, but says landlord is trying to push them out of Corona apt.

A formerly homeless Queens couple may end up back in a shelter system they thought they had escaped – despite paying their rent on time even though their city housing subsidy expired. , 48, and Cynthia Sepulveda, 41, said their landlord CI House harassed them to move out of their studio at 38-01 112th St. in Corona. Their lease is up for renewal next month and the building is under renovations to become market-rate apartments after many of their fellow subsidy recipients moved out. Read More: Daily News

[UPDATE] Grapel arrives in Queens


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Nargas Karimi.

[UPDATE] Ilan Grapel has arrived back in Queens, landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday after months in an Egyptian jail following allegations he was an Israeli spy.

 

[UPDATE: Thursday, October 27] Ilan Grapel has arrived in Israel. Congressmember Ackerman, joined by Ilan’s mother Irene, met Grapel on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport. They will soon meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Details on his arrival back to New York will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.

 

[UPDATE] Congressmember Gary Ackerman has arrived in Israel to bring Ilan Grapel home. He is expected to be released tomorrow afternoon.

The date and time of their arrival in New York will be announced soon.

Ackerman, who had been assured by the highest levels in Israel that Grapel was not a spy, worked to secure his release by intervening with the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the Prime Minister of Israel and the U.S. State Department. The 27-year-old Grapel holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship.

The Prime Minister of Israel announced that Ilan Grapel, the Oakland Gardens native and law student arrested during the Egyptian uprisings in June, will be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, according to Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office.

Grapel, 27, had been a member of the Israeli military serving as a paratrooper and was injured in southern Lebanon in August 2006. After returning home, he attended Emory Law School in Georgia and traveled to Egypt as part of a project involving African refugees. Grapel arrived early in an effort to experience the country when he was arrested and accused of being an officer of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Service, and inciting the firebombing of an Egyptian police station. He has been held for four months despite records of entering the country with a legitimate passport and posting pictures of himself on Facebook during the uprisings that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

“Ilan’s release is terrific news,” said Ackerman. “We cannot be more relieved and gratified that Ilan will finally be freed and that he will soon be reunited with his family.”

Grapel worked with Ackerman, the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, as in intern in the summer of 2002.

“Ilan is a wonderful young man who loves Egypt and the Egyptian culture. He’s a person deeply committed to the cause of humanity and bringing people together, and just found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Ackerman.

“I still reserve my emotional opinion because we have to wait until he actually crosses the line, before that nothing is 100 percent guaranteed until it actually happens,” said Daniel Grapel, Ilan’s father.

After negotiations, Grapel’s parents were able to meet with their son in Egypt for three hours just before Rosh Hashana.

“Physically he’s okay, but mentally it’s hard to say exactly,” said his father.

Reports say that Israel’s Security Cabinet unanimously approved the deal to exchange 25 prisoners for Grapel with the swap taking place on Thursday, October 27 under intense security. The prisoners are said to be non-militant offenders held on charges of illegally entering Israel in search of work, asylum or with contraband.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/26/2011: Couple Who Took 8 Children From Foster Care Face Jail


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Couple Who Took 8 Children From Foster Care Face Jail

A Manhattan couple who slipped their eight children out the back of a foster care agency in Queens and absconded with them for a week pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree custodial interference. Judge Elisa Koenderman of Queens Criminal Court indicated she would sentence each parent to 90 days in jail and three years’ probation. Read More: New York Times

 

Former Queens resident admits choking, dismembering wife

A former Queens resident faces 20 years in prison for the choking death and dismemberment of his wife, whose parts were stuffed in a suitcase which was found by teenagers in a park almost a year later. The Queens District Attorney’s Office says Edwin Fuentes pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter and tampering with physical evidence in the 2007 death of his wife. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Report finds Flushing intersection most perilous for pedestrians

The intersection of Union St. and Northern Blvd. in Flushing is the most dangerous spot in Queens for pedestrians, according to a new analysis of crash data. And Jamaica has the most pedestrian accidents of any community board district in the borough and the second-most citywide, the report shows. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Release Photo Of Suspect In Deadly L.I.E. Wrong-Way Crash

Police have identified a suspect wanted in a deadly wrong-way crash that killed a beloved Queens bar owner. Authorities have released a photo of 36-year-old Peter Rodriquez and are asking for the public’s help to help track him down. The crash occurred in the early morning hours of October 15, when 37-year-old George Gibbons closed up his “Gibbon’s Home” bar in Maspeth before catching a cab to go home. Read More: CBS News

 

Egypt to release Queens native Ilan Grapel

The Prime Minister of Israel announced that Ilan Grapel, the Oakland Gardens native and law student arrested during the Egyptian uprisings in June, will be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, according to Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office. Read More: Queens Courier

Egypt to release Queens native


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

Photo by Nargas Karimi Daniel Grapel, Ilan's father, answered media inquiries outside his Oakland Gardens home.

The Prime Minister of Israel announced that Ilan Grapel, the Queens native and law student arrested during the Egyptian uprisings in June, will be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, according to Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office.

Grapel had been a member of the Israeli military serving as a paratrooper and was injured in southern Lebanon in August 2006. After returning home, he began attending Emory Law School in Georgia and travelled to Egypt as part of a project involving African refugees. Ilan arrived early in an effort to experience the country when he was arrested in June accused of being an officer of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Service, despite records of entering the country with a legitimate passport and posting pictures of himself on Facebook during the uprisings that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

“Ilan’s release is terrific news,” said Ackerman. “We cannot be more relieved and gratified that Ilan will finally be freed and that he will soon be reunited with his family.”

Grapel, 27, worked with Ackerman, the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, as in intern in the summer of 2002.

“Ilan is a wonderful young man who loves Egypt and the Egyptian culture. He’s a person deeply committed to the cause of humanity and bringing people together, and just found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Ackerman.

“I still reserve my emotional opinion because we have to wait until he actually crosses the line, before that nothing is 100 percent guaranteed until it actually happens,” said Daniel Grapel, Ilan’s father.

Details surrounding the timing of Grapel’s release have yet to be released.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/25/2011: 8 Officers Charged With Gun Trafficking in U.S. Corruption Case


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Egypt to release Queens native

The Prime Minister of Israel announced that Ilan Grapel, the Queens native and law student arrested during the Egyptian uprisings in June, will be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, according to Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Barbara Sheehan released from prison

According to published reports, the 50-year-old mother of two was released from Rikers Island earlier today, roughly two weeks after she was taken into custody. Barbara was in prison awaiting sentencing for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree for the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, on the morning of February 18, 2008. Read More: Queens Courier

 

15-year-old held in rape attempts in Queens

A 15-year-old Queens youth has been arrested on charges that he tried to rape two women this month, part of what the authorities say is a pattern of five attacks in the borough’s southeastern section that began in late September. Read More: New York Times

 

 

Queens suspect forcibly grabs woman’s breast in subway station

A suspect is being sought in connection with yet another sex crime in Queens. Police said that last Thursday a suspect approached 22-year-old woman at the Seneca Avenue M Line subway station and grabbed her breast and private area.  The suspect then fled the station for the street. Read More: CBS News

 

 

8 Officers Charged With Gun Trafficking in U.S. Corruption Case

Eight current and former New York Police Department officers were arrested early Tuesday on federal charges including gun trafficking and conspiracy to smuggle cigarettes, according to people briefed on the case. Read More: New York Times

 

 

Egypt and Israel close to a deal for Queens resident


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s Office    Egyptian officials arrested Queens native Ilan Grapel in June and accused him of spying for the Israeli government.

An Oakland Gardens law student is close to a ticket home after being arrested on spy charges in Egypt during their uprisings this past summer.
As reported in The New York Times, Ilan Grapel, 27 – who has dual citizenship with the United States and Israel – would be exchanged for 80 Egyptians who had been arrested over the Israeli border on drug and other charges. The deal would be the second mass exchange after Israeli soldier, Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit, was swapped for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
According to Congressmember Gary Ackerman, the timing of the proposed trade for Grapel is not contingent on the success of the Israeli-Palestinian exchange but “makes it conducive to try to move these things within the same general time frame.”
“I can tell you that he is not a spy,” said Ackerman, the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. “I’m doing everything I can on a daily basis to be sure he is being well treated and to convince the powers that be he is not a spy and to secure his release.”
Grapel had been a member of the Israeli military serving as a paratrooper and was injured in southern Lebanon in August 2006, according to reports. After returning home, he began attending Emory Law School in Georgia and travelled to Egypt as part of a project involving Sudanese refugees. He was arrested in June and accused of being an officer of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Service, despite records of entering the country with a legitimate passport and posting pictures of himself on Facebook during the Egyptian uprisings that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.
“We are grateful to the people that are holding him that he has not been mistreated,” said Ackerman, who once employed Grapel as an intern.
After being questioned whether or not Grapel’s family has had any contact with him, Ackerman took a long pause.
“I didn’t want to go this far. I was able to arrange for his parents to meet with him for what we thought was going to be an hour or so. It turned out to be three hours. We got them in and out of Cairo without notice [just before Rosh Hashana].”
While he would not say he was optimistic, Ackerman said he is “hopeful” that a deal will be made soon.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/18/2011: Queens law student to be freed by Egypt


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

1. Roosevelt Island eyed for new hi-tech Cornell & Stanford campus

Cornell and Stanford universities are looking for an area to create their new applied sciences and engineering campus. Officials for both Cornell and Stanford universities said they favored Roosevelt Island over the other two sites being considered for the new campus (Governors Island and Brooklyn Navy Yard). Read More: Daily News

 

2. Israeli citizen gets jail in NY tax case

Boris Michaelov, owner and operator of Lefferts Auto Sales in Elmhurst, will spend six months in jail for evading over $2 million in sales taxes. Michaelov agreed to make full restitution and pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted grand larceny. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

3. Queens law student to be freed by Egypt

Ilan Grapel, an American law student from Queens who also has Israeli citizenship, was arrested in Egypt in June and charged with spying for Israel. Grapel was arrested in Egypt while working for a non-profit organization helping refugees. Egypt is holding Grapel until another prisoner exchange brokered between Hamas and Israel goes through. Read More: New York Times

 

4. Fire closes Lenny’s Pizzeria in Howard Beach

Flames engulfed a popular pizzeria in Howard Beach early Monday morning. Firefighters in Battalion 39 responded to the one-alarm fire at Lenny’s Pizzeria on 164-02 Cross Bay Boulevard before 8 a.m. on October 17. Fire officials reported damages throughout the store and to the front. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, no injuries have been reported. Read More: Queens Courier

 

5. Taste of Sunnyside 2 event starts today

The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) are joining forces to throw the 2nd Annual Taste of Sunnyside! This is the best way to sample all of the neighborhood restaurants at a minimal cost of $25 per person. Taste of Sunnyside 2 will be held at the Sunnyside Community Services ground floor Ballroom, 43-31 39th Street, just off Queens Boulevard. Read More: Taste of Sunnyside