An Egyptian court yesterday sentenced a Jordanian to 10 years in prison and an Israeli intelligence officer, tried in absentia, to life imprisonment on charges of spying for Israel.
Cairo’s State Security Court condemned Bashar Abu-Zaid, a Jordanian communications engineer, to 10 years. Abu-Zaid is already in police custody. The court also sentenced Ofer Haray, an Israel Mossad officer in absentia to life imprisonment, a maximum of 25 years.
The two convicts were accused of transmitting phone calls to Israel to enable Israeli security and intelligence bodies to listen to those calls and use the information they obtained to monitor the whereabouts of the Egyptian army and police personnel and find out information about their numbers and the weapons and equipment Egypt possessed.
The Jordanian convict responded to the pronounced sentence with a smile. His lawyer said that the ruling acknowledges that the defendant is not guilty, thanking the court for its mercy.
“Had the country been in a state of war, he would have been given a life sentence,” he said.
The Jordanian convict was arrested in April 2011 following the January 25 Revolution that resulted in the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
According to the evidence provided to the court, the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate and the National Security apparatus closely monitored the Jordanian defendant’s activities and found out that he works as a communications engineer specialising in satellites and networks. He is accused of communicating with Haray and met with him several times outside the country where they agreed to transmit Egyptian phone calls via the Internet into Israel with the aim of enabling the Israeli security bodies to listen to the calls.
The indictment document states that Abu-Zaid was assigned by Haray to search for personnel who would transmit international calls from Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan in return for financial rewards.