By John Ikani
The three Israeli filmmakers who were arrested in Nigeria on July 9, including Israeli activist Rudy Rochman, were released from custody on Wednesday, July 28.
They were detained in Nigeria while filming for the documentary ‘We Were Never Lost’, which aimed to explore the Jewish African experience.
Nigerian authorities from the Department of State Services (DSS) arrested and interrogated the trio on suspicion that they had come in contact with Biafran separatists.
The “We Were Never Lost” Instagram page posted a press release stating that Rochman, along with Andrew Noam Leibman and Eduoard David Benaym, were interviewing the Igbo community in Nigeria, who consider themselves to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.
The press release accused “Nigerian bloggers” of “hijacking images” to falsely claim that Rochman, Leibman and Benaym were supporting a separatist movement within the Igbo community.
“Due to the factually incorrect and inflammatory blogs, the Nigerian government ‘suspected’ the team and took them into custody,” the press stated, adding that the three filmmakers were put into “a small cell” with “horrendous conditions” for 20 days.
“They were interrogated and mistreated without ever officially being arrested or accused of anything. There were countless human and international violations that occurred,” the statement said.
Upon release, the trio were given their passports and phones just before their flight took off for Istanbul Wednesday night.