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Nasim Nasr
Photo: Jeremy Feldman
Lebanese spy to be released on Sunday
Jailed in 2002 for six-year prison term, Muslim convert Nasim Nasr has already completed his sentence but is still being held in administrative detention. His attorney insists timing of Nasr's deportation to Lebanon 'not by chance'

While Israel has yet to confirm Lebanese reports of developments on the prisoner-exchange front, all signs seem to be pointing to a significant breakthrough.

 

Sunday will see the release of convicted spy Nasim Nasr, a Jewish man who converted to Islam and immigrated to Israel from Lebanon. In 2002 Nasr was sentenced to a six-year prison term after being tried for espionage.

 

Though Nasr has recently finished serving his sentence, Israeli authorities continued to hold him under administrative detention – possibly hoping he could be used as a bartering chip in the negotiations.

 

Nasr's attorney, Smadar Ben-Natan, told Ynet that officials from the Immigration Authority have recently informed her that her client stands to be released on Sunday and deported back to Lebanon, where he will be handed over to UNIFIL peacekeepers and Red Cross officials.

 

"The timing is not incidental," said Ben-Natan, "Israel could have transferred him to Lebanon several weeks ago, but now the delayed release has been made to appear as an Israeli gesture."

 

Meanwhile Lebanese media revealed new details regarding the burgeoning exchange agreement. According to a report in the 'al-Akhbar' daily on Sunday, Hizbullah is insisting Samir Kuntar be included in any exchange deal for Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

 

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert initially objected to this, the paper wrote, but later changed his position after accepting Hizbullah's pledge to work towards determining the fate of Israeli navigator Ron Arad, who was captured in 1986.

 

Former Shin Bet Deputy Chief Ofer Dekel, who Olmert appointed to oversee the work being done to secure the return of the kidnapped soldiers, relayed the message to the German mediator.

 

In his speech on Monday, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced that Kuntar and his brother would soon be returned to Lebanon.

 

The al-Akhbar report says that, as opposed to report in the Israeli media, Hizbullah has not backed down from its demand to include Palestinian prisoners in the deal.

 


First published: 05.27.08, 09:20
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