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Israel court jails Belgian for spying for Iran

Published on 21/04/2015

An Israeli court sentenced an Iranian-born Belgian to seven years in prison on Tuesday after convicting him of spying for Tehran.

Ali Mansouri was detained at Ben Gurion international airport in September 2013 carrying photographs of the US embassy in Tel Aviv and other sites, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service said.

His defence lawyer Avigdor Feldman said he did not expect to appeal.

“The court heard our arguments that the security of Israel was not compromised,” Feldman told reporters.

“It was the Iranian secret services who put pressure on him and his family and we feel that this verdict was rather fair and reasonable in view of the circumstances.”

The Shin Bet alleged that Mansouri, who acquired Belgian nationality through marriage, had enrolled in a special operations unit of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

They charged that he had been promised $1 million to use his position as a businessman to set up companies in Israel on behalf of the Iranian intelligence services to “harm Israeli and Western interests”.

He had previously visited Israel in July 2012 and January 2013.