Anat Kamm appeals prison sentence to Supreme Court

Former IDF secretary tells court her four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for serious espionage crimes is "too harsh."

Anat Kamm stands inside a courtroom in Tel Aviv 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Anat Kamm stands inside a courtroom in Tel Aviv 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Anat Kamm, the former IDF OC Central Command secretary convicted of serious espionage crimes, including passing classified documents to journalist Uri Blau, appealed to the Supreme Court against her sentence on Wednesday.
In October, 22-year-old Kamm was sentenced to four-and- a-half years in prison. That sentence is due to begin on Sunday, and Kamm has been ordered to present herself at the Tel Aviv District Court on that day to be taken to prison.
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Kamm’s attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to reduce her prison term to either a suspended sentence or to six months of community service on the grounds that it is too harsh. They have also asked for the start of Kamm’s sentence to be delayed while the appeal process is heard.
Justice Miriam Naor will convene a preliminary hearing in the Supreme Court at 11 a.m. on Thursday to determine whether Kamm will begin her sentence on Sunday, as ordered by the district court.
Kamm was convicted in February under a plea bargain under which she pleaded guilty to gathering and storing classified military documents during her mandatory army service and transferring them to Blau, a political affairs reporter for left-leaning Hebrew daily Haaretz.
However, and significantly, the amended indictment dropped two far more severe charges of deliberately intending to harm state security, an offense which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The prosecution had originally requested a far harsher punishment of 15 years imprisonment, the maximum penalty for the offenses for which Kamm was convicted.
But in October’s sentencing hearing, Judges Nurit Ahituv, Miriam Diskin and Ra’anan Ben-Yosef said they had taken into account the mitigating circumstances of Kamm’s young age, her lack of criminal record and that she had complied readily with the investigation including giving a full confession.
However, the judges also said Kamm had “cynically exploited her position” during her army service as a clerk in the office of Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh to steal 2,085 IDF documents – over 700 of which were highly classified – and to transfer them to Blau.
In September 2008, after her discharge from the army, Kamm intended to give the files to Yediot Aharonot journalist Yossi Yehoshua, but when that failed, she handed a disk containing 1,500 documents, 150 of them highly classified and 330 classified, to Blau.
The Haaretz reporter used classified material from those documents as the basis for two newspaper articles. In the first, published in late October 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. A few weeks later, another Haaretz story intimated that the IDF had earmarked Palestinian terrorists for targeted killings.
Blau had received from Kamm a copy of the targeted-killing order; a photocopy was published by Haaretz.
Ahituv said the number of classified documents Kamm stole from the IDF was “almost unimaginable” and dealt with ‘the most vital issues in the defense and the military,” which could since have been transferred to other, unknown protagonists.