Cairo: A state security court today
sentenced an Egyptian businessman to 25 years in prison for
spying for Israel, court officials said.
The sentencing of Tareq Hassan, who owns an
export-import firm, followed last week`s arrest in Cairo of a
dual Israeli-US national for allegedly spying for Israel. Ilan
Grapel was arrested on suspicion of sedition and inciting
Egyptians to clash with the country`s military leadership.
Egyptian prosecutors said he was a Mossad agent. His
family, however, maintains he was spending the summer in Cairo
as an intern at a legal aid group. Israel also denies the
27-year-old Grapel is a spy.
Today, presiding judge Gamaleddin Rushdy also
sentenced two Israeli citizens in absentia to 25 years in
jail. The two were said by Egyptian prosecutors to be Mossad
Hassan was arrested in August and charged four months
later, along with the two Israelis, for attempting to identify
telecommunications workers in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon who
would be willing to spy for Israel. He was also alleged to
have passed intelligence gathered by an Israeli agent in Syria
to the Israelis.
The prosecutors said he provided intelligence to
Israel in exchange for cash.
The court officials spoke on condition of anonymity
because they were not authorised to speak to reporters.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said he
"preferred not to make comments as long as American-Israeli
backpacker Ilan Grapel is still under detention in Cairo."
Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979 but
their relationship has been cool. Often, relations between the
two Middle Eastern neighbors has become tense over what Cairo
sees as Israel`s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith with
the Palestinians and over similar spy cases.