Lizben Agha, An Igbo Jew Who Was Arrested With Israeli Filmmakers Released

A leader of the Igbo Jewish community in southeastern Nigeria was released Saturday after being held by authorities for almost a month, diplomatic sources in Nigeria told the Times of Israel.

Lizben Agha was arrested the same day as three Israeli filmmakers in the Igbo village of Ogidi on July 9 by masked agents of Nigeria’s internal security agency, the Department of State Services. The Israelis, taken at gunpoint in a local synagogue, were suspected of contact with Biafran separatists in the southeast of the country and held for 20 days without access to lawyers and without being formally charged.

The filmmakers stressed that neither they nor Agha had any connection whatsoever to separatists or any political movement.

Agha had been helping the Israelis film an episode on the Igbo Jewish community.

When the Israelis were initially taken for what they were told would be a short interview, Agha asked to join them to mediate with Nigerian authorities. Her insistence on remaining with the trio likely caused her to be arrested as well, one of the filmmakers said.

Rudy Rochman, a pro-Israel activist with almost 95,000 followers on Instagram; filmmaker Andrew Noam Leibman; and French-Israeli journalist Edouard David Benaym were in Nigeria to film “We Were Never Lost,” a documentary exploring Jewish communities in African countries such as Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda and Nigeria. Their July trip was focused on the Igbo community.

“Lizben is an innocent, amazing woman,” Rochman told The Times of Israel. “Incredibly strong, powerful, hospitable, proud in her Jewish identity, and was there for us the moment we got there.”

“It’s horrible what happened to her — 29 days in prison. We were there for 20 of those days, so we know what it’s like,” Rochman said.

The three men took a third of the one daily kosher meal that their jailors allowed them to receive from Chabad and gave it to Agha through the prison guards during their captivity.

But Agha was unable to receive kosher food after the Israelis left.

“I spoke with Chabad before we left and convinced them to continue to bring food for her,” said Rochman. “They came three different times and the DSS refused to give her the food.”

Rochman said the filmmakers helped raise money for her bail.

The filmmakers said that their local fixer, Priye Amachree, was also arrested about a week ago and is still being held. He is not Igbo.

Amachree has not been granted access to a lawyer or been formally charged, Rochman said.

Source:- Timesofisreal

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