Israel ex-minister to get 11 years for spying for Iran

Gonen Segev served as energy and infrastructure minister from 1995 to 1996. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019
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Israel ex-minister to get 11 years for spying for Iran

  • As part of the agreement, Gonen Segev will plead guilty to serious espionage and transfer of information to the enemy
  • Segev served in the Labour government of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin after defecting from the far right

JERUSALEM: An Israeli ex-minister charged with spying for the country's arch-foe Iran has reached a plea bargain with prosecutors that will see him serve 11 years in prison, the justice ministry said Wednesday.
As part of the agreement, Gonen Segev will plead guilty to serious espionage and transfer of information to the enemy, the ministry said in a statement.
A sentencing hearing was set for February 11.
The trial of Segev, who served as energy and infrastructure minister from 1995 to 1996, opened in July but was held behind closed doors, with few details of the accusations publicly released.
Segev served in the Labour government of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin after defecting from the far right to cast the decisive vote in favour of the Oslo II peace agreement with the Palestinians.
He has previously served prison time on criminal charges.
In 2004, he was charged with trying to smuggle 30,000 ecstasy pills into Israel from the Netherlands using a diplomatic passport with a falsified expiry date.
The following year, he admitted the charges as part of a plea bargain.
He has also been convicted of attempted credit card fraud.


Migrants stranded at sea for three weeks face deportation

Updated 16 min 31 sec ago
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Migrants stranded at sea for three weeks face deportation

  • Vessel carrying 75 illegal refugees, including 32 children, remained stranded 25 km off Tunisia

TUNIS: Tunisia has allowed dozens of migrants, mostly from Bangladesh, to disembark after three weeks stranded in the Mediterranean, so that they can return to their home countries, the Red Crescent said on Wednesday.

An Egyptian boat rescued at least 75 migrants in Tunisian waters last month. But local authorities in the governorate of Medinine said its migrant centers were too overcrowded to let them ashore, leaving the vessel stranded 25 km off the coastal city of Zarzis.

“After they were stranded for three weeks at sea in difficult conditions, Tunisia agreed to dock the ship, and migrants accepted to return to their countries in coming days,” Red Crescent official Mongi Slim told Reuters.

After a visit by officials from Bangladesh Embassy, the migrants agreed to return home, according to Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official.

Earlier, Red Crescent representatives welcomed to port 64 Bangladeshis, nine Egyptians, a Moroccan, a Sudanese citizen, who left Zuwara in Libya in late May.

The migrants, which include at least 32 children and unaccompanied minors, are to be transferred to a reception center in Sfax from where they are set to return home, Slim added.

Worried about creating a precedent, Tunisian authorities said they accepted the migrants as an exception and for “humanitarian” reasons.

“We thank Tunisia’s renewed commitment to life and dignity,” said Lorena Lando, the head of the International Organization for Migration in Tunisia.

She added that it is urgent to put in place a collaborative approach to helping migrants in the Mediterranean.

Neighboring Libya’s west coast is a frequent departure point for African migrants hoping to reach Europe by paying human traffickers. But their numbers have dropped after an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support the Libyan coast guard.

At least 65 migrants drowned last month when their boat capsized off Tunisia after setting out from Libya.

In the first four months of 2019, 164 people are known to have died on the route, a smaller number but a higher death rate than in previous years, with one dying for every three who reach European shores, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.