Trial begins for former minister who spied on Israel for Iran
Gonen Segev, who was charged last month for espionage, makes his first public appearance at the Jerusalem District Court since he was arrested in May; Shin Bet says Segev met in apartments and hotels around the world with his Iranian handlers fully aware of their identity.
Segev, greying and wearing a blue-collared shirt, appeared at the Jerusalem District Court before a judge after being charged with espionage, aiding an enemy in war time, as well as providing information to the enemy.
The court extended his arrest until the conclusion of the legal proceedings against him.
Ahead of the trial, the Shin Bet released new details about the services performed by Segev on behalf of the Iranians.
“Segev was drafted and acted as an agent on behalf of Iranian intelligence. The investigation showed that in 2012, a connection was established between Segev and officials from the Iranian Embassy in Nigeria. Subsequently, he twice attended meetings in Iran with his handlers while their identity as intelligence officials was known to him,” the statement by the Shin Bet said.
“The investigation revealed that Segev met with his Iranian handlers across the world in hotels and apartments that he assumed were used for clandestine activities,” it continued.
During the investigation, it goes on, "it became apparent that Segev transferred to his handlers information related to the energy sector, to security sites in Israel, to buildings, to people carrying out roles in the diplomatic and security bodies.
“In order to complete the assignments he received from his Iranian handlers, Segev made contact with Israeli citizens in the security domain and Israel’s foreign diplomatic circles. Segev worked to connect some of the Israeli citizens with Iranian intelligence officials while trying to fool them and present them as innocent businessmen," the statement accuses the defendant.
Segev’s legal defense teams responded to the charges leveled against their client. “It can already be said by the first stage that the publication ascribes excessive severity to the issue even though in the indictment a different picture is formed,” the lawyers said.
According to his indictment, part of which was declassified on Wednesday, Gonen “transferred dozens of reports with the intention of harming state security.”
The former minister, who had been working for years in Nigeria as a doctor, has remained in police custody since he was refused entry into Equatorial Guinea in May 2018 because of his criminal past and consequently transferred to Israel.
The Jerusalem District Court lifted a gag order on Wednesday on some of the content of the indictment that was served against Segev. However, various details were censored due to their sensitivity for state security.
The indictment emphasizes that Segev, who was once a member of Israel’s Security Cabinet, transferred to the Iranians “dozens of reports with the intention of harming state security.”
The majority of the details in the indictment remain classified, including some 50 articles detailing the matters in which Segev obtained information and carried out various assignments.
“In his acts that are described above, the defendant acted as an Iranian intelligence agent and as part of his activities he carried out many acts designed to assist Iran in its war against Israel,” the indictment states.
“The defendant also passed on to the Iranians secret reports in order to harm state security, inter alia, about the location of security officials’ compounds, names of security personnel and more,” it continues.