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Australian citizen admits to spying for Hamas

JTA

December 13, 2011 | 11:17 am

An Australian citizen pleaded guilty to charges of spying for Hamas.

Eyad Rashid Abu Arja, who is Palestinian-born and holds dual Jordanian citizenship, was detained in Tel Aviv in March on charges of “activities on behalf of an illegal organization”.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist group under Israeli law.

Under the terms of a plea bargain submitted to an Israeli court, Arja admitted to espionage for the Gaza-based group while on a visit to Israel.

He had been coerced into the mission by Hamas operatives in Saudi Arabia, his attorney, Leah Tsemel, said. “He’s a person who bumped into activists of the Hamas and attempted, or rendered some very, very shallow services to them. He’s in no way a terrorist,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Monday.


Arja, a computer scientist, is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 5 to 30 months in prison.

The indictment cites photographing commercial centers, collecting maps and making contact with businesses in Israel, according to an Agence France Press report.

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