Israeli nuclear suspect awaits fate

An Israeli citizen accused of illegally conspiring to send 200 US-made nuclear weapons detonators to Pakistan is to know his fate on Thursday.

    Pakistan is accused of seeking more nuclear technology

    A judge will decide whether Asher Karni, 50,

    should be freed on $75,000 bail or remain in jail

    until his trial.

    Kami was arrested on 2 January at Denver

    International Airport after he arrived for a ski holiday.

    On Monday a US judge ordered

    him freed on a $75,000, provided he remained at his rabbi's home

    in Maryland while his case proceeds in Washington.

    Appeal

    But Karni was not released immediately, pending an appeal

    by federal authorities in Washington who have until Thursday to

    ask the judge to keep him in custody.

    The US government has charged Karni, who lives in South

    Africa, with conspiring to send and hide the identity of the

    "triggered spark gaps" headed for Pakistan.

    A spark gap, which

    can send a synchronised electronic pulse to detonate a nuclear

    weapon, is also used by hospitals to destroy kidney stones. N

    o special permission is needed if the devices are sent to a

    hospital.

    But the US government said Karni falsely listed a hospital in

    South Africa as the receiver.

    If he had listed Pakistan as the

    destination, a special US export permit would have been

    needed.

    'Admission'

    According to a prosecution affidavit filed with the court,

    US authorities said Karni admitted the scheme to South

    African authorities who searched his business in Cape Town in

    December.

    Court papers said Karni ordered the triggers, which are

    made by Perkin Elmer Optoelectronics of Massachusetts, through

    a New Jersey export company.

    A shipment of 66 triggers, deliberately disabled by Perkin

    Elmer, was sent to Karni's South African company, the court

    records showed.

    And an e-mail, purportedly from Karni to the New

    Jersey company, said he had forwarded the triggers to "the

    customer".

    SOURCE: Reuters


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