Israeli Ex-minister Convicted of Spying for Iran Gets 11 Years in Prison

Gonen Segev, who was caught trying to smuggle ecstasy into Israel in 2004, admitted the charge in a plea deal

Aaron Rabinowitz
Aaron Rabinowitz
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Gonen Segev at the start of his espionage trial, July 2018
Gonen Segev at the start of his espionage trial, July 2018Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Aaron Rabinowitz
Aaron Rabinowitz

Gonen Segev, a former cabinet minister, doctor and farmer, was sentenced on Tuesday to 11 years after he spied for Iran.

The Jerusalem District Court approved Segev's plea deal, in which he admitted to the charges. Segev was convicted last month.

Segev has already served three years of a five-year prison term for smuggling ecstasy tablets into Israel, using a doctored diplomatic passport.

>> Ecstasy smuggling, a fake diplomatic passport and Rabin: Who is Gonen Segev?

Segev served as Israel's energy and infrastructure minister from January 1995 to June 1996, but was arrested in 2018 on charges of delivering dozens of items of information to Tehran with the purpose of harming Israel's security. The original charges against him included aiding the enemy in war, spying against the State of Israel, and giving information to the enemy.

Segev met with his Iranian handlers in a number of countries, including Iran, and gave them information about Israeli security that he had learned while serving as a minister, the prosecution charged. The Shin Bet security service has assessed that Segev did not have access to up-to-date information because more than two decades had passed since his service in cabinet. According to the Shin Bet, however, Segev had tried to obtain more current information through his contacts in Israel.

Following his stint in cabinet, Segev quit politics for business. But in April 2004, Segev was caught trying to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy tablets from Amsterdam to Israel. He claimed he thought they were M&M candies. It didn't help that he was using a falsified diplomatic passport. He was sentenced to five years, sat for three and had his medical license revoked.

Prosecutor Geula Cohen said after the hearing that more information will be disclosed about the facts, without harming state security, and added that the crimes speak for themselves. She added that Segev is an elderly man who now faces a not-short prison term of 11 years. Segev was born in Kiryat Motzkin in 1956

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