Western sources "in the know" told Kuwait's Al-Jarida newspaper on Thursday that Ben Zygier, AKA "Prisoner X," was one of the members of the squad which assassinated senior Hamas
terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January 2010.
The same sources noted that following the mission, Zygier contacted the government in Dubai and updated it on the details of the assassination in exchange for protection. The sources also said that Israel
managed to uncover Zygier's hiding place, kidnapped him and jailed him for treason, and all this while maintaining absolute secrecy. The report has not been confirmed by any other sources.
Israel acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that it held the Australia-born dual Israeli citizen under a false name for security reasons and that he died in prison more than two years ago - details that shed new light on a case that has strained relations with its close ally Australia and raised questions about its secretive Mossad agency.
Zygier's trial took place in 2010 at the Central District Court, while he still resided in Petah Tikva. He was taken to the court under heavy security and great secrecy, and all deliberations regarding his case occurred behind closed doors.
Scene of Mabhouh assassination, Dubai (Photo: Reuters)
While inside the courthouse, he was hidden and isolated from the other detainees, so that he could not be communicated with and was unable to communicate with others.
Due to the furtiveness of the deliberations, the court employees understood that something irregular was occurring at the scene – but apparently most of them had no idea what was actually going on.
Attorney Avigdor Feldman
claimed that in December 2010 – a day prior to his death – he met with Zygier, who was represented in various proceedings by attorneys Roi Belcher, Moshe Mazor and Boaz Ben-Zur.
"They asked me to meet with him and see him. I saw him, and a day afterwards, I was told that the person no longer existed. When I saw him, there were no signs that he was going to commit suicide. He sounded rational and weighed legal options that I cannot disclose," Feldman told Ynet and refused detailing the circumstances of the meeting.
In an interview on Thursday with Army Radio,
Feldman revealed that negotiations were held between the sides regarding a plea bargain. "He stood before a legal junction that he had to pass and requested that I give my opinion on the decision.
"This was after the indictment was filed and the trial had not yet officially begun. There was an indictment while Zygier
was held until the conclusion of legal proceedings and negotiations were held with senior Prosecution officials to reach a plea bargain," Feldman said.
"I can say that he denied the charges ... The crimes he was suspected of were serious," Feldman said but would not elaborate further. "He didn't admit to anything."
Raanan Ben-Zur and AP contributed to the report
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