Egypt sentences three to life imprisonment for spying for Israel

UPDATED: 19:30, June 25, 2007

Egypt's state security court on Monday sentenced Mohamed Sayyed Saber, a nuclear engineer at Egypt's state-run Atomic Energy Agency, and two others to 25 years in jail for spying for Israel, the Egyptian official MENA news agency reported.

Ali Islam, the head of the Egyptian atomic agency, testified that Saber illegally obtained the classified documents from his department, kept them for 10 years in defiance of regulations that prevented him from keeping them in his possession, MENA added.

Saber was accused of stealing confidential reports from the agency and handing them for 17,000 U.S. dollars to Israeli Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency) in an act that could harm the national interests.

Prosecutors asked the court to give him maximum penalty for hacking into the agency's computer system, stealing the classified documents and selling them to Israel.

Saber, 35, who was arrested at the beginning of the year, had pleaded not guilty to the espionage charges and looked shocked when the verdict was read out.

During the trial, Saber insisted that any information he had divulged was already in the public domain.

The two others, a Japanese one an Irish one, were tried in absentia and received the same sentence of 25 years in jail.

Source: Xinhua

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