Three Israeli filmmakers who were detained in the custody of the Department of Security Service (DSS) for 20 days have been released.
DSS released the trio from prison Tuesday evening and handed them over to US custody.
They were given their passports and phones just before their flight took off for Istanbul Wednesday night.
Rudy Rochman, a pro-Israel activist, filmmaker Andrew Noam Leibman and French-Israeli journalist Edouard David Benaym were arrested July 9 while shooting a documentary in southeast region of Nigeria.
The Israelis were in Nigeria to film “We Were Never Lost,” a documentary exploring Jewish communities in African countries such as Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda and Nigeria. They were focusing on the Igbo Jewish community in Nigeria.
Narrating their ordeal in a statement published on Instagram Wednesday night, the trio said that they were “wrongfully taken on Friday July 9th, 2021 at 7:30 AM (Nigerian time) to the local DSS facility in Anambra State, Nigeria where they were held for 24 hours before being transported to the DSS headquarters in Abuja, 9 hours away with dangerous transport [sic].”
The men said they were taken into custody at gunpoint by “over a dozen” DSS men wearing black ski masks.
“Rudy, Noam, and David were caged and held for 20 days in horrendous conditions, locked into a small cell, sleeping on the floor with no access to showers or clean clothes. They were interrogated and mistreated without ever officially being arrested or accused of anything.”
The three men said in their statement that they were officially cleared of all wrongdoing, but were instructed by the Nigerian government to leave the country immediately.
They promised to find another way to tell the story of Igbo Jewish life.
Abacityblog.com reported that the DSS arrested and interrogated the Israeli filmmakers on suspicion that they had come in contact with Biafran separatists.