Court acquits Israeli woman of being an Iranian spy - 4 other defendants may still be convicted

Published date03 October 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
It is rare that Israelis are accused of spying for the Islamic Republic and even more rare for them to be acquitted once the state, and usually the Shin Bet, has gone to the trouble of tracking, probing and indicting them

The state prosecution said it still believed it had a basis to indict and convict, citing the defendant's own testimony that she was suspicious about the Iranian agent she was communicating with, and said it may still appeal the decision.

In January, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced it had arrested five Israelis who had been recruited by an Iranian intelligence agent to whom they sent photographs and other information.

The investigation was carried out by the Shin Bet and the Police after it was suspected that a number of citizens were in contact with an Iranian intelligence agent known as Rambud Namdar, who recruited the Israelis to carry out missions within the country.

The suspects, four women and one man from the center of the country, met Namdar, who said on Facebook that he was a Jew living in Iran. According to the agency, Rambud requested from all suspects that instead of being in contact on Facebook, they would talk on WhatsApp, where he also video chatted.

Why did the court acquit the defendant?

The court acquitted the defendant-woman on Monday noting that it found her testimony in her defense both in court and during her interrogations believable.

According to her version of events, she never gave anything damaging to Namdar and did not realize he was an Iranian intelligence agent.

In fact, the court highlighted that the prosecution did not even bother to cross-examine the defendant, an unusual move when seeking to convict someone who denies they committed a crime.

It appears that the prosecution argued that the lower-grade crime of contact with a foreign agent does not require actual harm to Israel, only a failure to report to the state that one has been contacted by such a foreign agent.

The court said that given that the defendant did not harm the state and her intent was not to harm the state, that the full balance of her circumstances needed to be analyzed.

It said that she had taken some precautions to try to check Namdar's identity to ensure that he was not a negative influence and that just because he fooled her with sophisticated lies did not mean she could be convicted.

The defendant was in...

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