Israeli starts jail term for leaking army secrets to media

AFP , Wednesday 23 Nov 2011

Former Israeli soldier who leaked classified documents exposing targeted killings of Palestinian resistance fighters jailed for four-and-a-half years

A young Israeli woman convicted of spying and leaking classified military documents to Israel's Haaretz newspaper began a four-and-a-half year prison sentence on Wednesday.

Former soldier Anat Kam, 24, entered Neve Tirza women's prison, at Ramle near Tel Aviv, on Wednesday morning said an AFP photographer at the scene.

She was convicted in February under a plea bargain that saw her admitting to charges of "serious espionage" and "passing on classified data" in return for the prosecution dropping a charge of intent to harm state security, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Last month she was sentenced to 54 months in jail, with an additional 18 months suspended for three years from completion of the term.

Although she pleaded guilty to the offences, she is appealing the length of her sentence that her lawyer, Ilan Bombach, says is excessive and fails to take into account the time she spent under house arrest since December 2009.

"It appears that there is a very reasonable chance that the sentence will be significantly shortened," Bombach told Israeli public radio. "In the past few days we have submitted an urgent request for the appeal to be heard with all possible speed so that she does not sit behind bars any longer than necessary."

Kam was convicted of stealing more than 2,000 military documents, including details of operational planning and force deployment, during her army service between 2005 and 2007.

Some of the documents were used as source material for a Haaretz article that said troops had been ordered to carry out targeted killings of Palestinian militants in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court order.

The journalist who wrote it, Uri Blau, was reportedly given immunity from prosecution after handing over the classified documents in his possession.

Kam said her actions were ideologically motivated and that she wanted to expose the army's policies in the Palestinian territories. 

Short link: