(photo credit: AP [file])
A 24-year-old female law student from Umm el-Fahm was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in jail and two years suspended on charges of being in contact with a Hizbullah agent and aiding the organization.
The woman, Manar Jabarin, was found guilty by Haifa District Court of being in continuous touch with the Hizbullah agent, Gada Shayush, for four years after meeting her while studying dentistry in Amman in 2003.
Shayush befriended Jabarin, told her she was a Hizbullah agent, and tried to recruit her to the organization and undergo training.
Although Jabarin turned down the offer, she agreed to smuggle a disk-on-key portable computer memory into Israel for Hizbullah agents inside the country when she abruptly abandoned her studies and returned home in October 2003. She did not pass the disk-on-key, which remained in her possession until her arrest.
Almost one year after Jabarin's return to Israel, Shayush contacted her and invited her to Amman to continue discussing her recruitment to Hizbullah. Jabarin went and, according to the indictment, expressed interest and asked for details about the enlistment and training procedures. Shayush also talked to her about how to maintain secrecy and collect data useful to the organization about buildings in Israel.
Jabarin met Shayush in Amman once more in 2004 and continued to maintain contact by telephone and the Internet until her arrest.
After Jabarin confessed to the allegations against her, she signed a plea bargain with the state. According to the agreement, the state would ask the court for a sentence of four years in jail, while the accused could ask for whatever sentence she wanted.
During the pleas for sentencing, the state charged that Jabarin was guilty of actions "to a degree of very substantial and significant gravity."
Furthermore, the fact that her contact with Shayush had gone on for four years indicated "that it wasn't just a casual contact."
Jabarin's lawyers pointed out that their client was only 19 years old when she met Shayush and that because of her age, she lacked the maturity to fully understand what she was doing and how serious it was. They also pointed out that at the time she met Shayush in Amman, she was undergoing a serious personal crisis which eventually led her to abandon her studies and return home. The lawyers asked the court not to make her serve time in prison.
However, the judges ruled that even though Jabarin did not cause serious damage to the state, the act of making contact with an enemy agent was in itself dangerous. "Sometimes, what starts off as handing over a disk-on-key can end up in transferring information or other equipment whose damage to the state could be enormous." They also pointed out that given the gravity of the crimes, there was a need to hand down a deterrent punishment.
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