Egyptian 'tried to spy for Israel'

An Egyptian lawyer is to face trial on charges of attempting to spy for Israel, judicial sources said on Saturday.

    Appeals are forbidden under Egypt's 'emergency laws'

    They said Waleed Lotfy Ahmed Hashim, 29, who was arrested in April and has since been under investigation, was accused of sending a fax to the Israeli embassy with unspecified information and offering further information for a fee.

    The sources said Hashim, who was charged by the general prosecutor with "seeking to spy for the benefit of Israel", would be tried in an emergency high state security court in Cairo. It was not immediately clear when his trial would start.

    If convicted, Hashim has no normal right of appeal under emergency laws in place in Egypt place since an Islamic armed group assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 but he can petition President Hosni Mubarak to overturn any ruling.

    Israel denies knowledge

    Egyptian courts sentenced two Egyptians to prison last year for spying for Israel, which Egypt signed a peace treaty with in 1979.

    A Cairo court sentenced an Egyptian engineer to 15 years in March 2002, while three months later another Egyptian was sentenced by a court in Alexandria to 10 years.

    "We do not have any information about this man. We are not connected in any way to this person"

    Israeli embassy spokesman

    Egypt was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Egypt recalled its ambassador in November 2000 in protest against Israel's handling of the Palestinian intifada against Israeli occupation. Israel has kept its ambassador in Egypt.

    Asked about the latest case, Israeli embassy spokesman Israel Tikochinski told Reuters news agency, "We do not have any information about this man. We are not connected in any way to this person."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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