Police Wiretapped Conversations, Lawyer of Accused Spy Says

Charity head suspected of working for Hezbollah

The defense attorney for an Israeli Arab accused of spying for Hezbollah said yesterday the police have been recording meetings between him and his client. He demanded that a criminal investigation be opened into the alleged wiretapping.

Ameer Makhoul, director general of the charity Ittijah (Union of Arab Community-Based Associations ), was arrested in an overnight raid in April.

Makhoul's brother Issam, a former Hadash MK, said he suspected that the authorities had singled out Ameer because of his campaigns against the government's "racist and discriminatory polices" against Israeli Arabs.

The veteran activist is well-known among Arab charities and NGOs and takes part in conferences on discrimination in Israel and abroad. He has strongly criticized government policy.

Makhoul was indicted a month ago on charges that he received a list from Hezbollah that included a request that he pass on information about military sites in northern Israel, their exact addresses and security details.

The indictment says Makhoul was requested to report to his Hezbollah contacts about a production plant in the north, the Mossad office in central Israel and a site in Haifa that was hit by Hezbollah rockets during the Second Lebanon War. Makhoul allegedly gave specific descriptions of weaknesses in Israel's military home front.