Former Israeli Gov’t Official Arrested for Spying; Could Face Death Penalty
Gonen Segev was previously jailed for drug smuggling; now, officials say he’s been spying for none other than Iran
A former Israeli government official has been arrested on charges of spying on behalf of Iran, and some say his sentence could be unprecedentedly harsh.
Gonen Segev served as minster of infrastructure and energy from 1995-1996, during the governments of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres (after Rabin was assassinated). It has been noted that his vote was key to ratifying the Oslo Accords in the Knesset.
Following his political career, Segev went into private business, but was arrested in 2004 after being caught smuggling thousands of ecstasy tablets into Israel. Segev claimed he thought the pills were M&M's candies, but the court wasn't buying it, and sentenced the disgraced former minister to three years in prison.
After his release, Segev moved to Nigeria, where it has now been revealed he was recruited by agents at the Iranian Embassy in 2012.
A month ago, Segev tried to enter Equatorial Guinea, but was instead extradited to Israel due to his criminal record.
Upon arrival, he was taken into custody on charges of espionage, aiding the enemy in a time of war, and providing information to the enemy.
Israeli authorities contend that Segev passes sensitive information regarding security installations and Israel's energy industry to Iranian agents.
Segev reportedly has not denied frequent contacts with Iranian agents, but claims it was all part of a ruse to trick the Iranians, thus allowing him to eventually return home a hero.
Like his earlier M&M's story, that's not likely to convince Israel's judiciary, and at least one legal source told The Times of Israel that the court could decide to make an example of Segev by sentencing him to death, a punishment Israel has only ever carried out once in its 70-year modern history, and that against the Nazi architect of the Holocaust, Adolph Eichmann.
PHOTO: Former Energy Ministry Gonen Segev during his 2006 appearance before the Supreme Court for drug smuggling. (Flash90)