The Israeli Justice Ministry has announced that Gonen Segev, a former energy minister, who was caught spying for Iran, will serve 11 years behind bars in exchange for a guilty plea.
Last June, Segev, who served as Israel’s Energy Minister from 1995 to 1996, was arrested by the Shin Bet internal security service after suspicions arose that he was a recruited Iranian intelligence agent. According to the available information, Segev had been recruited by the Iranians while living in Nigeria. Israeli intelligence operatives had found that Iranian embassy officials in Lagos, the Nigerian capital, had approached Segev in 2012. Soon thereafter, the former minister traveled to Iran on two separate occasions to meet with his handlers and to receive an encrypted communications system with which he would pass along classified information.
More specifically, Israeli intelligence officials said that Segev had been divulging “information related to the energy sector, security sites in Israel and officials in political and security institutions” for over six years. Moreover, the charge sheet stated that Segev “gave the Iranians secret information with the intention of harming state security. Among other things, the information included the location of security installations, the names of security personnel, and more. The accused also gave the Iranians dozens of pieces of information in order to harm state security.”
Segev was arrested and extradited after an intelligence operation in Equatorial Guinea, which he was visiting last May. He was initially indicted with the charge of assisting an enemy during wartime – Iran has been a mortal enemy to Israel for decades.
This isn’t the first time that Segev has had issues with Israeli justice. In 2004, he was jailed for an attempted smuggling of Ecstasy pills into Israel. In 2007, following a three-year prison sentence, he left the country.
The 11-year sentence – which seems small when compared with Segev’s actions – appears to be the result of the former minister’s knowledge of classified information. It seems that in exchange for his silence, the Israeli government has agreed to the reduced sentence.
Israel and Iran are entangled in a covert war. Tehran has been bankrolling several terrorist organizations that have been targeting and attacking Israeli military and civilian targets. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF), and Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, have been the primary tools of violence for Iran’s anti-Israeli strategy.
Israeli, on the other hand, has been actively going after Iranian nuclear scientists that have been working on Tehran’s secret nuclear program, assassinating several in the process.
The Israeli intelligence apparatus is comprised of Shin Bet, Aman, the military intelligence service, and Mossad, the foreign intelligence service.
The Iranian government has made no comment with regard to Segev’s arrest and sentence.