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Court cuts Kamm's espionage sentence by 1 year
By JPOST.COM STAFF
12/31/2012
4.5 year sentence of Kamm, convicted of leaking IDF documents to journalist, cut after appeal; sentence disproportional, court says.
 
The Supreme Court on Monday took a year off the four-and-a-half-year sentence begun in November 2011 by Anat Kamm, 25, reducing her jail term to three-and-a-half years.

Kamm was convicted by the Tel Aviv District Court in February 2011 of stealing IDF documents during her mandatory military service and leaking them to Haaretz journalist Uri Blau.

Kamm, who worked as a journalist for the Walla news portal after her army service, was convicted in a plea bargain under which she admitted to gathering and storing more than 2,000 classified military documents during her service.

She also admitted to transferring the classified documents to Blau, a political affairs reporter who used the material as the basis for two articles, including allegations that certain IDF commanders had disregarded Supreme Court directives in late 2008.

She is now expected to be released from Ramle’s Neveh Tirza Prison in February 2014.

The court based its decision on the fact that Kamm admitted to her crimes, saved the court time, cooperated with police investigators and was unlikely to commit such crimes again. It also found that her sentence was harsher than those given to others for similar crimes, and that it was unreasonable given that Blau had been sentenced to only four months of community service for his part in the affair.

However, the court agreed with the lower court in that Kamm’s actions had been highly problematic and a strong message of deterrence had to be sent to ideologically motivated people who believe they know better than the authorities and are ready to take the law into their own hands.

The court did not find Kamm’s sentence or the fact that she was given significant jail time to be inappropriate.

More specifically, it responded to the argument put forward by her attorney that because of her relatively low rank at the time she stole the documents, her sentence should have been be less than that given to a former general, Yitzhak Yaakov, who also leaked classified information.

The court said Kamm had pushed harder and succeeded more than Yaakov in getting the classified documents into the hands of the media, and created greater dangers for the IDF. In fact, it said it would not have reduced her sentence based only on a comparison with other cases, but since it already had a core problem with the sentence, comparisons to other sentences provided additional evidence that hers was harsher than necessary.

While the court said Kamm’s sentence was unreasonable when compared to Blau’s, it refused to make any exact comparisons. It noted that Blau had a legally privileged role as a journalist, whereas Kamm, a soldier, had an extra responsibility to uphold considerations of security.

The fact that Kamm might have seen her role as similar to Blau’s was not an overwhelming factor for the court, although it did believe it somewhat unreasonable that the lower court had entirely ignored Kamm’s intent to benefit the public.

Overall, the court affirmed the lower court’s sentencing of Kamm.
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