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Three Israelis accused of spying for Iran declared not guilty by Israeli judge

August 10, 2023 at 4:54 pm

Esther Hayut (C), the head of the Israeli Supreme Court, judge Uzi Vogelma (L) and judge Isaac Amit (R) lead the session in which the application for the annulment of the law, which was approved by the parliament in March, and transferred the authority to dismiss the prime minister from the Attorney General and the Supreme Court, to the Parliament and the government at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem on August 03, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Three Israelis, who were accused of spying for Iran following their interactions with an Iranian intelligence operative on Facebook, were declared not guilty yesterday by the District Court of Jerusalem.

According to Haaretz, the judge determined that, in the case of two of the defendants, the prosecution failed to prove their awareness of the fact that the individual they had communicated with was operating on behalf of Tehran.

However, the judge found one of the defendants, who had suspicions about the agent’s foreign affiliations, guilty of maintaining contact with a foreign operative.

According to the indictment, an Iranian intelligence agent engaged with the accused Israelis, including four women and the spouse of one of them, through Facebook.

The agent introduced himself as “Rambod”, an affluent unmarried Muslim from Tehran who was curious about Judaism and planned to visit Israel.

He instructed the Israelis to provide information about Israel in exchange for money and gifts, to which they obliged. Moreover, certain defendants were aware of, or had suspicions, regarding the agent’s true identity as a Tehran-linked intelligence operative.

One defendant employed at the Jerusalem Municipality illustrated a layout of the Mayor’s office, while another shared a video snippet of a military event. Furthermore, she captured an image of herself casting her vote during the Knesset election.

Despite the sensitive information shared by the Israelis, Judge Ilan Sela said thatl while espionage offences are attributed to “people who knowingly and deliberately had contact with hostile agents, acting against Israel”, this case was different because the accused were unaware that the individual they communicated with was an agent of Iran.

“There is no doubt these are Zionist people who love Israel and had no intention of infringing on state security at any stage,” he added.

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