Doctor goes to jail for contacting Iran

Army shrink David Shamir gets five years for trying to sell Iranians, Hamas classified information.

iran embassy london 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
iran embassy london 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday sentenced David Shamir, a psychiatrist who served in the IDF, to five years in prison after he was convicted of contacting an enemy agent and possessing classified information with the intention of harming the state. Shamir, 45, a major in the army reserves, was initially indicted for attempted espionage and obstruction of justice but the charges were reduced in a plea bargain he signed with the state on January 8. He was arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in cooperation with the Israel Police's Serious and International Crimes Unit on November 14. According to the prosecution, during his IDF reserve duty the psychiatrist was exposed to classified material including emergency plans of the IDF Medical Corps, detailed plans for the deployment of medical units and control centers, procedures for providing psychiatric services to the home front during a war and tactics for evacuating civilians in the event of rocket attacks, as well as IDF intelligence and operations assessments. The November 22 indictment served in the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court asserts that "in April 2007, Shamir decided to provide information to hostile entities in exchange for money, and he contacted the Iranian Foreign Ministry by electronic mail." He allegedly introduced himself in the mail as a civilian and an Israeli officer "well tuned in to what goes on in Israel." Police said that during his interrogation, Shamir confessed that he told the Iranians he had widespread contacts with Israeli public figures and Israeli companies, including those with security clearances. The IDF psychiatrist purportedly expressed his willingness to cooperate with Iran, saying that he would be prepared "to provide further details." A few days later he received a response from the Iranian officials but he didn't finalize an agreement with them, police said. In addition, it is alleged that in August 2007, Shamir sent faxes from his home to the Iranian consulates in London and Turkey and, about a month ago, after receiving no responses, he faxed them again. Police said that after sending the faxes he destroyed them and saved the fax numbers to his cellular phone memory to lessen the chances of detection. Shamir told his interrogators that he was motivated by "greed." On November 3, he allegedly turned to the Hamas-controlled al-Azhar University in the Gaza Strip where he introduced himself as an Israeli citizen interested in "joining the struggle." Police assert that he did this to create an opening for future cooperation between him and Hamas. Shamir also allegedly wrote an anonymous e-mail to the Russian intelligence service, seeking clarification on its recruitment process and expressing willingness to join the organization. Police requested that Shamir be remanded in custody until the end of legal proceedings and until now, his remand has been extended several times for the purpose of the investigation. Shamir, who ran a drug rehabilitation clinic, was also found to be in possession of marijuana, police said. "This fact surprised the investigators, in light of the fact that he is a civil servant in a government institution who as part of his job is supposed to treat suspects sent by the court for drug rehabilitation treatment," read a police statement. AP contributed to this report