Israel indicts former cabinet minister accused of spying for Iran | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 18.06.2018
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Israel indicts former cabinet minister accused of spying for Iran

Israel's energy minister has been accused of spying for Iran. Israel's Shin Bet agency says he was extradited from Equatorial Guinea in May. Segev's lawyers say there is a 'misleading picture'

Israel's internal security agency on Monday accused the former Israeli energy minister Gonen Segev of supplying Iran with information on the energy sector and security sites in Israel.

Segev, a physician, served as energy minister from 1995 to 1996 under then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and was jailed in 2004 for attempting to smuggle ecstasy pills from the Netherlands.

He left Israel in 2007 after his release from prison.

Shit Bet said Segev, when living in Nigeria, was recruited by Iranian intelligence agents who supplied him with an encrypted communications system.

Iran was supplied with "information related to the energy sector, security sites in Israel and officials in political and security institutions."

Refused entry

Israeli police said Segev was arrested last month on his return to Israel after being refused entry to the West African state of Equatorial Guinea because of his criminal record.

Segev's lawyers said in a statement that most details of the charges were under a state-imposed blackout and the little which had been released gave a misleading impression.

"From the contents of the charge sheet, whose full details are blocked, a different picture emerges," the lawyers said.

Israel and Iran are arch-foes.

Iran backs militias in Lebanon and Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently accused Iran of seeking to build an atomic bomb despite a six-power accord quit by US President Donald Trump.

The United Nations's International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly said that Iran is complying with the accord.

ipj/aw (Reuters, dpa; AFP)

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