Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:15 am (KSA) 21:15 pm (GMT)

Lebanese court sentences Israel spy to death

banon and Israel remain technically in a state of war, and convicted spies face life in prison or the death penalty (File)
banon and Israel remain technically in a state of war, and convicted spies face life in prison or the death penalty (File)

A Lebanese court sentenced a man to death on Tuesday for spying for Israel and giving the Jewish state security information it used during its 34-day war in 2006 with Hezbollah, judicial sources said.

Ali Mantash was sentenced on the same day that a prosecutor charged Charbel Qazzi, an executive at Lebanon's state-owned mobile phone firm Alfa, with spying for Israel.

Lebanon and Israel remain technically in a state of war, and convicted spies face life in prison with hard labor or the death penalty if found guilty of contributing to Lebanese loss of life.


Mantash's arrest and trial was part of a broad espionage investigation which has led to more than 50 arrests since April last year. Security sources said sophisticated communication devices were found in his possession.

Mantash, who was arrested in April 2009, is the second Lebanese to be sentenced to death for spying for Israel.

Lebanon has described the arrests as a major blow to Israel's intelligence gathering in the country and said many of the suspects had played crucial roles in identifying targets that were bombed during the 2006 war.

Israel has not commented on the two cases.

Earlier in the day, a Lebanese prosecutor charged Qazzi, an executive at state-owned mobile phone firm Alfa, with spying for Israel and referred him to a military court. If convicted, he could be given the death penalty.

Qazzi's arrest last month shocked the country because of his senior position in the company and prompted debate on how deeply Israel had infiltrated Lebanon's telecoms and security sectors.

MP Hassan Fadlallah, a member of Shiite militant group Hezbollah and head of parliament's information and telecommunications committee, said Azzi had been giving Israel "vital information" on Lebanese communications and security for 14 years.

President Michel Suleiman, who under Lebanese law must sign a death sentence before it is carried out, has called for severe punishment for spies. The cabinet also agreed that death sentences handed down to spies for Israel should be carried out.

Lebanese courts have until now handed down what were widely seen as light sentences against nationals who worked with Israeli occupation forces and their local militias. Israel ended its 22-year occupation of mainly Shiites south Lebanon in 2000.

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