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Former Israeli energy minister gets 11 years for spying for Iran

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Former Israeli energy minister gets 11 years for spying for Iran
Israeli Gonen Segev was sentenced to 11 years in prison Tuesday on charges of spying for Iran. Photo by Ronen/Zvulun/EPA-EFE

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A former Israeli government minister convicted of spying for Iran was sentenced to more than a decade in prison Tuesday.

Gonen Segev, a former energy and infrastructure minister, accepted a plea deal in the case last month. He was charged with aiding the enemy in a time of war, spying against the State of Israel and providing intelligence to the enemy. The intelligence he gave compromised Israel's national security, prosecutors said.

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Segev received his punishment Tuesday -- 11 years in prison.

"Segev confessed that he acted on behalf of the Iranian intelligence forces for five years, maintained regular communications with his handlers using a clandestine channel, and that he provided them [with] a diverse range of information -- including top secret information," prosecutors said.

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The former government official was arrested after Israel had him extradited from Equatorial Guinea a year ago. Segev initially tried to turn the tables, saying he "wanted to fool the Iranians and come back to Israel a hero," but authorities had proof he gave away state secrets.

Prosecutors said Segev met with handlers in Iran and other countries.

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The 11-year jail sentence avoided an longer, detailed trial, which would've forced the government to reveal intelligence sources, methods and secrets.

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In 2005, Segev was arrested on drug smuggling charges for trying to enter Israel with 32,000 ecstasy tablets. After that he had his medical license revoked and moved to Nigeria, where he lived nearly for 10 years before he was returned to face trial. He served as energy and infrastructure minister from 1995 to 1996.

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