‘Uri Blau's agreement doesn't infringe on free press'

'Haaretz' reporter's lawyers claim army documents' return balances need for state security and press freedoms, Blau didn't receive legal immunity.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, DAN IZENBERG
October 25, 2010 09:21
2 minute read.
'Ha'aretz' reporter Uri Blau.

uri blau 311. (photo credit: Channel 2)

Uri Blau's lawyer stated that the Haaretz investigative reporter has returned to Israel without receiving any guarantees that he would not be prosecuted for his part in the Anat Kamm affair in comments to Army Radio on Monday.

Lawyer Mibi Mozer told Army Radio that Blau returned after an agreement was reached with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) that "weighed in appropriate manner state security interests and a free press."

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"The fact that Uri under the arrangement would have to hand over hundreds of documents to the security services, even those he did not receive from Kam, does not infringe the freedom of the press, because the Shin Bet has agreed not to trace the sources [of the leaks]," added Mozer.

Blau, who has been abroad since January because he was wanted by police, returned home on Sunday after his lawyers signed an agreement with the state and returned 1,500 stolen army documents, the Justice Ministry announced.

Blau received most of the documents in question, including many classified as “secret” or “top secret,” from Kamm. In 2006-07, Kamm served as an aide to the head of the bureau of then-OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, where she was privy to classified information stored on the general’s computer.

In November 2008, Blau reported that senior IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officials had approved the terms of a targeted killing of a terrorist in violation of a landmark ruling by the High Court of Justice.

Blau had received from Kamm a copy of the targeted-killing order; a photocopy was published by Haaretz.

According to Sunday’s Justice Ministry announcement, Blau also promised that within 48 hours of his arrival in Israel, he would present himself to police and be questioned under caution. Blau agreed to be interrogated jointly by police and the Shin Bet and declared that not a single document remained in his possession in any form. He also gave his consent to undergo a polygraph test if the authorities ordered one.

The ministry said Blau could be charged with being in possession of the secret material and that if he were, he would first be granted a hearing before Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.


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