Spy jailed in Israel

26 February: Gonen Segev, 63, the former Israeli Minister for Energy and Infrastructure, has been sentenced to eleven years in prison for spying for Iran. The sentence followed a plea bargain in January by which Segev pleaded guilty to charges of serious espionage and passing information to an enemy. In return, prosecutors dropped the much more serious charge of aiding an enemy in time of war.

Prosecutors said that Segev had confessed to working for Iranian intelligence for five years. It seems that he first made contact with the Iranians at their embassy in Nigeria in 2012. After that, he twice travelled to Iran to meet his handlers. He was extradited from Africa and arrested in May 2018 following an investigation by Shin Bet, the Israeli security service.

Segev had a chequered career: he was Energy Minister only briefly, from 1995-6. In 2004 he was caught smuggling ecstasy tablets into Israel from Holland while using an expired diplomatic pasport. He was jailed for the offence. In 2007 he left Israel and travelled to Africa where he worked as a doctor.

All the court hearings have been held in secret and there is a gag order covering further operational details. The Israelis are keen to prevent details of how they detetcted Segev from entering the public arena.

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