Israel admits jailing Mossad agent

There are claims his arrest may have had something to do with the assassination of a top Hamas official in 2010 and the Australian passport scandal in the same year.

Israel admits jailing Mossad agent

World Bulletin / News Desk

An Israeli court statement sheds some light on a prisoner, reported to be Mossad spy - Israel's notorious intelligence agency - and who was also an Australian , but not much as the government's gag order has been partially lifted.

"The inmate was registered under a false identity for security reasons, but his family was notified immediately upon his arrest," the statement reads.

"The president has submitted the case to the state prosecutor's office to examine aspects of negligence."

Ben Zygier, 34, killed himself in a top secret, supposedly suicide-proof Israeli prison cell in 2010. He was accused of espionage and treason.

There are now claims his arrest may have had something to do with the assassination of a top Hamas official in 2010 and the Australian passport scandal in the same year.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) report says Zygier came from a prominent Jewish family in Melbourne.

In the 1990s he studied law at Monash University, before moving to Israel in his 20s, where he did military service and married.

After several years, he returned to Melbourne and went back to Monash to study an MBA.

By then, reports say he was already working for Mossad.

Doubts on suicide remain

Doubts have also been cast over whether he took his own life.

One of his Israeli lawyers who met him just days before his death says he gave no indication he was going to commit suicide.

"When I saw him, there was nothing to indicate he was going to commit suicide," said Avigdor Feldman, a top human rights lawyer.

In an interview with Israel's army radio, Feldman said he had met Prisoner X to offer him advice ahead of his trial.

"His family asked that I meet him to advise him. The trial hadn't properly started yet," he said, indicating the prisoner had already been indicted and that talks were under way with senior prosecutors to reach a plea bargain.

"He asked for advice and I sat and listened to him. Not that I'm a psychologist, but he appeared rational, focused, he spoke clearly about the issue and didn't exude any sense of self-pity."

A day or two later, Feldman's liaison at the prison rang him to say the prisoner had died.

The lawyer admitted he was surprised "that a man who was being held in a cell like that, a cell which was being monitored and checked 24-hours a day, could manage to commit suicide by hanging himself."

After initially denying that he knew nothing about the case, Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr said on Thursday that his government did know that an Australian was detained by Israel in February 2010 for national security offences.

On Wednesday, he said Australian diplomats in Israel only knew about Zygier's detention after his death in custody later that year.

Carr told an oversight committee of Australian legislators that Canberra was told about Zygier's detention on February 24, 2010, just after his arrest over "serious offences under Israeli national security legislation".

Foreign ministry secretary Peter Varghese said the information was not given to Australian diplomats but "came in another form, from another channel".

Last Mod: 14 Şubat 2013, 13:29
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