Australia confirms Prisoner X worked for Israeli govt



1. Melbourne: Australia on Wednesday acknowledged for the first time that the mysterious prisoner X, who was found hanged in a Tel Aviv jail, worked for the Israeli government but refrained from confirming that he was working for Mossad.

Realising an internal report into the management of the case of Ben Zygier, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr confirmed that he was working with the Israeli government but did not confirm that the 34-yr-old worked for its intelligence agency, Mossad.

"Mr Zygier went off to live in another country, for 10 years, took out citizenship of that country, worked for its government," Carr said.

"And if reports are to be believed, he worked for one of its intelligence services. That's not something I can deny or confirm. You can draw your own conclusions," he added.

Criticising Australian authorities' handling of the case, Carr said that his department's report revealed a "lack of clarity" in decision-making about the dual Australian-Israeli citizen's consular access.

"The Zygier case was complex and outside the normal bounds of consular activity," Carr said in a statement adding it was unsatisfactory that there was a lack of clarity over the exercise of consular responsibilities.

"It is also unsatisfactory that details of assistance provided by Israeli authorities to Zygier were not sought by or provided to DFAT until the commissioning of this report," Carr added.

Carr further said that Australia would express its concerns to Israel if it emerges out that Australian passports, held by Zygier during intelligence work stint, were being used for espionage activities.

"We won't settle for Australian passports being abused in this way," Carr said.

PTI