Egypt's Pro-Israel Spy Trials Raise Questions

[Voice of America] Leslie Boctor - This week an Egyptian court sentenced an Egyptian-Canadian man to 15 years in prison for spying on behalf of Israel, and Egyptian authorities charged another man with giving Israel confidential reports on Egypt's nuclear program. Aside from questions of a fair trial, many are questioning the reasons and the timing behind the recent spy cases in Egypt. An editorial in the independent Masr il Youm said the government is producing the spies as a ploy to draw attention away from domestic problems. Emad Gad, an analyst with the Al Ahram Center, says when the Egyptian authorities "announce about a new spy or a network, I think there is a political aspect." Gad says because of Saudi Arabia's new willingness to work with Israel, Egypt has reason to reassert its position in the region. In 1996 an Egyptian court sentenced Azzam Azzam, an Arab Israeli, to 15 years in prison for spying on behalf of Israel. Authorities said he had sent encoded messages in women's underwear from a Cairo textile factory using invisible ink. He was released in a prisoner swap with Israel. Azzam says he was tortured and signed a blank sheet of paper for his confession because he feared for his life. He says the Egyptian government uses the same tactics in other espionage cases.

2007-04-26 01:00:00

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