A-G mulls prosecuting former MI chief for 'exposing' spy

Eli Zeira allegedly exposed late Egyptian businessman Ashraf Marwan as Israeli spy; complaint against Zeira lodged by former Mossad director Zvi Zamir.

October 7, 2010 03:43
2 minute read.
SINCE HIS appointment in January, Weinstein has re

Weinstein 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein is weighing the possibility of prosecuting former Military Intelligence chief Eli Zeira for allegedly exposing the late Egyptian businessman Ashraf Marwan as an Israeli spy, Channel 2 said on Wednesday night.

A complaint against Zeira was lodged at the attorney-general’s office by former Mossad director Zvi Zamir and is currently being examined by Weinstein, according to Channel 2.

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Zamir has long accused Zeira, who headed Military Intelligence during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, of leaking Ashraf’s alleged role as spy to the press.

In 2007, Marwan, aged 63 at the time, fell to his death from the balcony of his London home. A coroner’s inquest was held to determine whether he had died by suicide, accident or foul play.

In July 2010, a UK coroner said the cause of Marwan’s death was inconclusive, but added that there was no evidence to support either suicide or unlawful killing.

“We simply don’t know the facts, despite careful investigation,” Coroner William Dolman told a London court.

“There are many unanswered questions.

“Did he jump or did he fall? Here the evidence does not provide a clear answer,” the coroner added.

Dolman said claims about Marwan’s death involved “the murky and secretive world of espionage.” However, he said, “we must restrict ourselves to a fact-finding exercise and not indulge in the luxury of mere speculation.”

Marwan was the son-in-law of president Gamal Abdel Nasser and a trusted aide to Nasser’s successor, Anwar Sadat.

Historians and intelligence agents have accused Marwan of being an Israeli spy who passed on vital information before the war – or, alternatively, of being a double agent loyal to Egypt.

During two days of testimony, the court heard from Marwan’s friends, family and business associates.

Mona Nasser, Marwan’s widow, told the inquest that her husband had never spoken of suicide, but had expressed fears he might be killed.

Marwan’s role as a supplier of intelligence – or disinformation – to Israel has resurfaced in the Israeli media in recent days after the State Archive released previously classified memos of emergency inner cabinet meetings prior to and during the Yom Kippur War.

Marwan was decorated by the Egyptian state for his role in the war. His funeral in Cairo was attended by highprofile mourners, including President Hosni Mubarak’s son, Gamal.

AP contributed to this report.

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