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Israeli ex-minister gets 11 years in prison for spying for Iran

Hearing hall in Israel supreme court. (Dr. Avishai Teicher/Wikimedia Commons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An Israeli court has sentenced a former cabinet minister to 11 years in prison for spying for the country’s arch-foe Iran.

Prosecutor Geula Cohen told journalists outside the Jerusalem court on February 26 that the judge had issued the sentence against Gonen Segev after accepting a plea bargain on charges of espionage and transferring information to Iran.

The court hearings had been held in secret due to the nature of the case.

Segev, who served as energy minister from 1995 to 1996 under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was convicted in 2005 of attempting to smuggle 32,000 chocolate-covered ecstasy pills from the Netherlands to Israel.

The ex-minister was released from prison in 2007, and has lived in Nigeria for nearly 10 years where he practiced medicine after his license was revoked in Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post.

He was extradited from Equatorial Guinea to Israel in May 2018.

The Shin Bet security service has said that Segev served as an agent of the Iranian intelligence services, and that he visited Iran twice for meetings with his handlers.

It said that Segev tried to put Israeli citizens with ties to Israel’s security and foreign relations sectors in touch with Iranian agents posing as “innocent business officials.”

He also supplied Iran with “information related to the energy sector, security sites in Israel, and officials in political and security institutions,” according to Shin Bet.