Court rejects Manbar's appeal for early release

Manbar was convicted for selling chemicals that could be used in military industry to Iran in 1998.

Manbar Natanz 224 (photo credit: AP / Channel 2)
Manbar Natanz 224
(photo credit: AP / Channel 2)
The Tel Aviv District Court rejected a request from convicted Iranian agent Nahum Manbar to hold a new hearing to review whether he is entitled to a reduction of a third of his 16-year sentence for good behavior. The court upheld the parole board's decision to reject the early release after ruling that Manbar still represented a danger to Israel. "I am 62 and I want to have a family in Israel. I have paid my debt to Israeli society," Manbar said on Monday when he submitted the appeal. "I know that the court ruled what it ruled. I am one of the few who paid their debts and fulfilled all of their requirements. They said that I left Israel in an illegal manner, and it is not true. I expressed deep regret. I don't cast any doubts about what the judge ruled, and I take responsibility for what I did." To reinforce his claim, Manbar's attorneys submitted three new opinions, including psychological evaluations, regarding the convicted agent. But the court was less than convinced by the former IDF officer's plea for amnesty. "There is nothing in the new opinions submitted to cause us to change the parole board's ruling," the court ruled. The parole board ruled two years ago that Manbar would not have a third of his sentenced reduced, arguing that it was not convinced that he was no longer dangerous. They argued that an early release for Manbar would undermine the deterrent power of such prison sentences, by sending a message of leniency toward other potential offenders. Manbar argued that he could not possibly be considered a serious security risk - otherwise he would not have enjoyed the approximately 80 furloughs from prison that he has received over the past seven years. Manbar, who was born on Kibbutz Givat Haim, was a successful arms dealer until 1994, when the United States claimed that he had violated the ongoing embargo against Iran by selling them ingredients for mustard gas and nerve gas. He was arrested by Israeli authorities in 1997 and convicted a year later on charges of collaboration with an enemy and providing information to an enemy.