Kamm petitions court over 'discriminating' bill

Anat Kamm claims MK Rotem, Knesset Speaker Rivlin deliberately postponing hearing on bill that could commute her sentence.

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 petitioned the High Court of Justice on Monday over a bill proposing more lenient sentences for transferring confidential information without intent to harm state security. The former IDF Central Command headquarters secretary sentenced is serving fourand- a-half years in prison for serious espionage crimes, The “Anat Kamm Bill” would set a maximum 10- year prison sentence for holding and transfering confidential information without intent to harm state security.
It was submitted by MK Othniel Schneller (Kadima) and passed the first of three required readings in the Knesset on January 3.
Currently, the crime of passing secret information is included under Article 13 of the Penal Code, under which Kamm was convicted. That article deals with aggravated espionage, and is punishable by a maximum 15 years in prison.
Kamm’s petition, filed on her behalf by her defense lawyer, attorney Ilan Bombach, names Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem and Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, and argues that both are discriminating against her by delaying the second and third readings of the bill, which if passed could reduce her sentence.
Kamm, now aged 24, was convicted in February 2011 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 Uri Blau, a political affairs reporter for Haaretz.
However, the amended indictment dropped two far more severe charges of deliberately intending to harm state security, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. On November 23, Kamm arrived at Neveh Tirza Women’s Prison in Ramle to begin serving her sentence Kamm is appealing her sentence in the Supreme Court, and a hearing is set for July 30.
According to Kamm’s petition, in essence, the bill seeks to revoke Article 13 of the Penal Code, under which Kamm was convicted, and replace it with a new provision titled “Disclosing Secret Information,” which will incur a penalty of 10 years in prison.
“At the end of the day, the bill will remove the stigma of ‘espionage’ offenses, such as those for which [Kamm] was convicted,” the petition reads.
“Anat Kamm, who committed a serious crime against the State of Israel, cannot expect that MKs who believe that loyalty must be tied to citizenship will help promote a bill that can alleviate her punishment,” Rotem said.
Chairmen determine their committees’ schedule and agenda. As such Rotem has been able to delay the debate on the Kamm Bill.
He said he decides which bills to discuss in his committee “in order of importance, according to my judgment, and that is how the agenda will continue to be set in the future.”
If the High Court forces him to debate the bill, the Israel Beiteinu MK added, he will make sure that there is a majority opposing the bill in the committee.
According to Schneller, Kamm’s petition shows that she still does not understand “the severity of her deeds.”
She should have received a seven-year prison sentence for her crimes, instead of four years, he added, and the State Attorney’s Office should appeal her “lenient punishment.”
In previous testimony before the court, Kamm admitted collecting electronic copies of classified documents shortly before the end of her army service in 2007.
She then transferred the files to two CD-ROMS and copied them to her home computer.
Altogether, the CDs contained 2,085 files, including 700 classified as secret or top secret.
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, whom Kamm did not know personally, made used of classified material from those documents as the basis for two newspaper articles.
In December 2009, after Haaretz published those articles, Kamm was interrogated by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) and confessed to handing over the documents to Blau.
In the first Haaretz article, published in October 2008, Blau accused the IDF of defying a High Court ruling against the targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists who could have been captured alive. The next article, published a few weeks later, similarly intimated that the IDF had earmarked Palestinian terrorists for targeted killings.
In November 2008, Blau reported that senior IDF and Shin Bet officials had approved the terms of a targeted killing of a terrorist in violation of a landmark ruling by the High Court.
Blau had received from Kamm a copy of the targeted killing order; a photocopy was published by Haaretz.