Lieutenant-Colonel Omar al-Hayeb, who was convicted of spying for Hezbollah, has been released after less than 10 years in prison on Tuesday.
Al-Hayeb, 48, was convicted of severe espionage, contact with a foreign agent and drug trafficking and sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2006. In 2010, it was decided to commute his sentence to 10 years. Last week, the Prison Service decided to release him six months earlier due to his medical condition.
Lt. Col. (res.) Hassan al-Hayeb, al-Hayeb's brother and Zarzir Mayor and chairman of the Bedouin councils said, "If Omar had erred, the State had a hand in it, as he was critically injured while chasing after Hezbollah men in 1996. He still has a bullet fragment in his head, and he lost eight soldiers in the incident."
The brother thanked the IDF officers who stood by the family as well as the "political and military establishment" for their support.
Al-Hayeb after being released from prison (Photo: Zeev Trachtman)
Al-Hayeb, 48, served in the IDF's Scouts Unit until he was badly injured while in pursuit of Hezbollah terrorists in 1996. He lost one eye and suffered an injury which limited his motor functions. He returned to the army three years later and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.
In 2002, he was arrested and charged with espionage, treason, contact with a foreign agent and drug trafficking. His arrest shocked the military establishment as the al-Hayeb family was one of the most prominent Bedouin families to serve in the IDF. The family was among the founders of the Scouts Unit and 14 of its members have died in battle.
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