Israeli Army: Intel Officer Who Died After Being Jailed on Classified Charges Was Not Suspected of Espionage or Treason

The name of the officer, as well as the circumstances of his death and the charges on which he was held, have been barred from publication

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Grave of intel officer who died in military prison, June 2, 2021
Grave of intel officer who died in military prison, June 2, 2021Credit: Rami Shllush
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

An Israeli intelligence officer who died in a military prison in circumstances that have been barred from publication was not accused of spying or treason, and was not in contact with a foreign agent, a military court said on Thursday.

The officer was discovered in serious condition about two weeks ago, nine months after he was indicted, and died in hospital.

The officer's identity, as well as the offense or offenses he was charged with, have been barred from publication. He was buried in a civilian cemetery, with the military saying this was because he had been discharged while in detention. He will also not be counted as one of the country's military deaths.

Speaking to Haaretz, acquaintances of the officer, who served in the Israel Defense Forces intelligence branch, described him as an idealistic and brilliant man who succeeded in all the jobs and tasks he was given. 

Before he was drafted into the army, he worked for high-tech companies where acquaintances described him as “one of the smartest and most talented people I have ever met,” “a person dedicated to work and a huge contributor” and “a real asset wherever he worked.” One described him as one of the best professionals he had ever encountered even when the man was age 17. “He could do in a few hours things that others would need days or weeks to complete. He made computers look slow the way he thought.”

The military prison facility where the soldier was held.Credit: IDF Spokesperson

Haaretz and the Ynet news website have appealed to publish further details. Thus far, the military tribunal issued the following statement: “In September 2020, after an investigation by military police, an indictment was filed against an officer that served in the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Corps with the military court.

“The officer was arrested following a decision by the military court and the legal process on the matter had not been decided. On the night between May 16 and 17, 2021, the officer was found at a military detention facility in the center of the country in serious medical condition. The officer was transferred for medical treatment to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His family was notified.”

The military's unit that investigates internal issues has opened an investigation into the circumstances of his death, and is supposed to submit its findings to military prosecutors. Hearings on the officer's case took place behind closed doors and were placed under total gag order. Another gag order has been placed on the investigation into his death. 

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