A lawyer for the anti-Zionist Natorei Karta man accused of spying for Iran told
the Jerusalem District Court on Monday that his client only confessed to the
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) regarding the allegations against him because
officers illegally prevented him access to his lawyer, making him feel like
His lawyer, Yair Nehorai, made the claims along with
several other defenses at a hearing in which the court ordered the haredi man,
whose identity is still under a gag order, to remain in police custody at least
until Wednesday pending a decision on the state’s motion to keep him in police
custody until the end of the trial.
While defendants whose identity are
under a gag order often come to court covering their faces with their shirt, the
man’s entire head was obscured by a large white covering such that it almost
appeared to be cut-off, giving him an even more surreal image than what has
already developed by the sensational allegations brought against
Nehorai’s main claim was that when the Shin Bet had arrested the man
on July 17, officials interrogated him improperly and kept him from speaking to
a lawyer despite his request to speak to one.
Further, Nehorai said the
Shin Bet questioned him for so long and with improper conditions like constant
and penetrating light exposure that when he confessed, the man felt isolated to
the point of thinking he was like a “Prisoner X,” with no rights.
that this tainted the Shin Bet-obtained confession and it should be
Next, he argued that his client should be evaluated by a
psychiatrist as he may be mentally incompetent to stand trial.
responded that while the Shin Bet had questioned him without a lawyer for two
days, until July 19, such a delay was legal when dealing with a security
prisoner, a category into which the man fit as an alleged spy.
case, the state said it also had evidence confirming the confession, such as a
picture on the man’s cell phone of the piece of paper allegedly given to him by
Iranian officials at Iran’s Embassy in Berlin with telephone and email
information for keeping in touch.
They also found information in his
possession regarding the Iranian Embassy.
The state disputed any
allegation that the man was in need of psychiatric help or was unfit for trial,
stating that it had found that the man was fully competent and mentally in
control of himself.
The man was indicted last week on charges of intent
to commit treason and contacting a foreign agent.
At an unknown date, the
man, 47, decided to make contact with the Iranian government to collect
intelligence on Israel and send it to officials, Thursday’s indictment
The indictment said that on January 16, 2011, he flew to Berlin
and two days after arriving, approached the embassy to tell the Iranians that he
was an Israeli and wanted to speak to them. At the time, he was clothed in his
regular haredi dress, including black and white clothes, and tzizit (ritual
Next, he was brought to Iranian representatives,
including a man who introduced himself as Hagi Baba and two others, said the
According to the indictment, he told Baba that he was against
the Jewish state, wanted the state to be taken over by non-Jews, was ready to
provide them intelligence and was even ready to “kill a Zionist,” if
The indictment also said that he baited the Iranians, asking
them why they continued to fail to stop sabotage and attacks by Israel within
Iran, the indictment continued.
The Iranians responded with annoyance,
noted the indictment, that he should be embarrassed to insult them when he was
coming to the Iranians seeking asylum.
The man retorted that he was not
seeking asylum, but was seeking to assist with spying, the indictment
He returned to Israel on January 20, 2011.
to Israel he kept up his connection with the Iranian officials using the email
account tadeus2011@Yahoo.com with the password merill2011.
where he checked the email account for messages from the Iranians was the Vital
Hotel at 141 Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, said the indictment.
where he used public telephone calls to contact the Iranians were on Straus
Street and Kanfei Nesharim Street in the capital, according to the
A fringe ultra-Orthodox sect established in Jerusalem in
1938, Netorei Karta (Aramaic for “Guardians of the City”) believes Israel can be
reestablished only after the coming of the Messiah.
The group therefore
rejects Zionism and opposes the existence of the state.
Members of the
sect in Israel and the US are known to burn the Israeli flag and have sent
representatives to attend conferences in Iran in the past.
Arabic media reported that members of the sect met with Hezbollah officials in