Former Minister Who Spied for Iran Set to Get 11 Years in Prison

gonan segev
Gonen Segev (C) is escorted by prison guards as he arrives at court in Yerushalayim. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP)

In a plea deal, former Israeli Knesset member and minister Gonen Segev will serve eleven years in prison. Segev was convicted on charges of espionage and treason for assistance he gave to Iran, but under the deal, the charges of aiding an enemy in time of war were dropped, knocking about a third off the minimum sentence that he would have gotten.

The deal was signed Wednesday between Segev and government prosecutors. It must still be approved by the Yerushalayim District Court.

Segev, a former Energy Minister in the government of Yitzchak Rabin, was arrested last June for providing Iran with information about Israel’s electrical grid, security sites, the location of homes and offices of security officials, and other sensitive data. Segev had been convicted of drug smuggling in 2006, and after his release went to live in Nigeria. Last year he attempted to enter the country of Guinea, which refused him entry because of his criminal past. He was sent back to Israel by authorities there, and arrested upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport.

Under questioning, it emerged that Segev in 2012 had formed a relationship with officials at the Iranian Embassy in Nigeria, and he began work as an Iranian agent. He traveled to Iran twice, where he met his handlers. Officials said that Segev was aware of what he was involved in throughout the entire period. He also met with his handlers on a regular basis outside of Iran, often in hotels or apartments in Europe.

In order to fulfill the missions the Iranians gave him, Segev drafted a team of Israeli civilians to provide him with the desired information. He connected several people in his network with his Iranian handlers, introducing them as expatriate Iranian “businessmen.” The Shin Bet said it had released only limited data about the case, asking the court to keep many of the details secret because of the sensitivity of the subject. In a statement Wednesday, the court said that it had received the deal, and that it would hear arguments about the proposed jail term for Segev in February. “All other information in this case is under a gag order, and no further details about the charges or the case in general will be released,” it said.