Prominent Arab-Israeli political activist charged with serious espionage after he reportedly admitted to meeting with Hezbollah operative in 2008, agreeing to transfer sensitive information to Shiite group. 'Shin Bet controls justice system. I deny allegations,' he says
Ynet reporters Published: 05.27.10, 10:45 / Israel News
About a month and-a-half after his arrest, it was cleared for publication that prominent Arab-Israeli political activist Ameer Makhoul, 42, has been charged with agreeing to spy for Hezbollah.
On Thursday, following a lengthy investigation conducted by the Shin Bet and Israel Police, an indictment was filed against Makhoul, the head of Ittijah (the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations) - an umbrella group for Arab NGOs in Israel. He was charged with serious espionage, assisting an enemy at a time of war and maintaining contact with an enemy agent.
The other suspect in the case, Omar Said of Kfar Kana, an activist for the Balad Arab political party, was charged with maintaining contact with an enemy agent and transferring information that could be used by the enemy.
According to the indictment, Makhoul relayed strategic intelligence to his Hezbollah handlers on at least 10 different occasions via a specially-designed computer encryption system.
The investigation revealed that Makhoul, who is also an author and the brother of a former Knesset member, confessed during a police interrogation in 2008 that he met with a Hezbollah operative in Denmark and agreed to begin collecting what was described as "strategic intelligence" on Israeli security services.
Makhoul allegedly relayed details and the exact location on two Shin Bet facilities, including the security arrangements surrounding them, in northern Israel. He also provided the Shiite group with details about the Rafael defense industry facility as well as a Mossad office located in northern Israel.
The Arab-Israeli activist was also asked by Hizbullah to gather information on the security surrounding the convoys of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. However, a senior security official said he did not succeed.
He also relayed through coded messages the names and details of Israelis he claimed were potential Hezbollah recruits.
The indictment also detailed how a Hezbollah operative installed encryption system on Makhoul's personal computer.
According to the indictment, Makhoul also disclosed the landing sites of rockets fired by Hezbollah towards Haifa during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and also tried, unsuccessfully, to find out the home address of the head of the Shin Bet.
Makhoul told Hezbollah that Israel's home front was vulnerable, and also relayed information on the Nachshonim army base.
The prosecution asked the court to extend Mahoul's remand until the conclusion of the legal proceedings against him. Judge Ron Shapira ruled that Makhoul will remain in custody at least until the next hearing in his case in four weeks' time.
Prior to Thursday's hearing at the Haifa District Court, Makhoul met his wife for the first time since his arrest. "The Shin Bet controls the Israeli justice system," he said, "I deny all of the allegations."
Denies charges. Makhoul in court :
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