Germany frees alleged Israeli agent
Court grants bail to man suspected of links to killing of Hamas leader in Dubai.
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2010 19:12 GMT
Brodsky is accused of illegally obtaining a German passport [EPA]

A German court has released on bail an alleged Israeli spy suspected of links to the killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai in January.

Prosecutors in the western city of Cologne told Uri Brodsky on Friday that he would not have to stand trial in Germany and was free to travel wherever he wanted while judicial proceedings against him continued.

Brodsky, who was arrested in June at Warsaw airport on suspicion of obtaining a German passport under false pretences, had been extradited to Germany on Thursday.

"The matter can now be dealt with by written proceedings," Rainer Wolf, a spokesman for the prosecution, said.

"He can return to Israel today if he wants to."

However, Wolf cautioned that Brodsky could face spying charges if he leaves Germany and later returns.

At the moment, Brodsky only faces charges relating to passport fraud because that was the only offense on which Poland, where he was arrested, agreed to extradite him.

Fine likely

Wolf said bail had been set at "an appropriate amount" and that Brodsky had not commented on whether he was involved in in the falsification of the passport
issued in Cologne last year. 

He said the court had a range of options it could pursue against Brodsky and that his lawyers had signalled their agreement to this.

Wolf said the most likely option was a fine of some kind.

Brodsky is accused of illegally obtaining the German passport under the name Michael Bodenheimer, which was later found to have been used by a member of the hit-squad that killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh earlier this year.

The squad, which Dubai police believe was from Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, was found to have used 26 doctored foreign passports, sparking diplomatic fallout not only with Germany but also Australia, Britain, France and Ireland.

Israel has denied any Mossad involvement in the assassination of al-Mabhuh, the founder of the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian movement that controls the Gaza Strip.

In the wake of the alleged spy's arrest, Israel called on Poland to send Brodsky, who is an Israeli citizen, straight home rather than handing him over to Germany.

Germany had originally wanted Brodsky extradited on charges of espionage.

But a Polish court ruled this month that he could only be sent to Germany on charges of obtaining a passport under false pretences.

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