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agent Ben Zygier jailed for 'treason' in Israel  
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הודעהפורסם: רביעי 13.02.13 23:44    נושא ההודעה: agent Ben Zygier jailed for 'treason' in Israel



agent Ben Zygier jailed for 'treason' in Israel

by: John Lyons and Paul Maley
From: The Australian
February 14, 2013 12:00AM


Israel's Prisoner X 'was Australian'

Australian Ben Zygier has been identified by the ABC as Israel's 'Prisoner X' who was found hanged in his cell in 2010. Vision: ABC Foreign...

news.com.au12 February 2013

Replay: Israel's Prisoner X 'was Australian'

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Ben Zygier

An undated picture of Ben Zygier, a reported Mossad spy who died in 2010 in Israel's Ayalon Prison. Source: Supplied

AN Australian man who died in an Israeli jail was understood to have been detained for "treason", according to reports aired on Israeli Army Radio last night.

The case of Ben Zygier, 34, suspected of being an agent for the Israeli security agency Mossad, yesterday became the subject of an urgent departmental review ordered by Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

The move came as it emerged that ASIO, which reportedly was investigating Zygier for using his Australian passport to spy for Israel, knew as early as 2010 that he was being held in the maximum-security Ayalon prison. Details of Zygier's detention were conveyed to a select few senior officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

So tightly held was information about Zygier who also used the name Ben Allen and the Hebrew name Ben Alon that when Senator Carr was asked about the case this week, he initially had no knowledge, saying the case had never been raised with him. He has now ordered a high-level review of the case, led by the department's secretary, Peter Varghese.
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"(The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) has now advised that some officers of the department were made aware of Mr Allen's detention at the time in 2010 by another Australian agency," a spokesman for Senator Carr said.

After a heavy media blackout on the case, Army Radio, the official radio service of the Israeli Defence Forces, broadcast bulletins yesterday naming Zygier as the deceased prisoner and putting treason as a possible motive for his incarceration in solitary confinement.

"Why was he interned? The suspicion is because of treason against Israel," the bulletin said.

Overnight, a statement from Israel's Justice Ministry said he was held for 'security reasons' in accordance with a court order, and his full rights were retained. The statement said his family had been notified after he was detained.

It emerged yesterday that Zygier was from a prominent Jewish family in Melbourne, had studied law at the University of Melbourne, trained as a lawyer and had served in the Israeli military. He travelled to Israel in 2000 and later married Maya Zalewski.

In early 2010 he was jailed in Ayalon prison in Ramla and held in a high-security cell built for Yigal Amir, the assassin of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Zygier committed suicide later that year and his funeral was held in Melbourne in December 2010. His family chose not to talk about the circumstances of his death yesterday.

Pressure was growing last night from Israeli politicians for the government to reveal the full details of the circumstances surrounding the death of the dual Israeli-Australian citizen.

On Tuesday night, ABC's Foreign Correspondent identified Zygier as "Prisoner X", a mysterious prisoner whose incarceration but not identity was reported briefly in Israel in 2010.

Prisoner X's case was so secret even his jailers were reportedly unaware who he was.

Zygier hanged himself in his cell, despite the fact it was reportedly equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance systems.

After his death, his body was returned to Melbourne and buried at a Jewish cemetery.

Zygier was well known and liked in Melbourne, where he spent the majority of his life. He attended a prestigious Melbourne Jewish school and studied law at Melbourne University.

One community leader who knows the family well told The Australian his suicide was widely known within Melbourne's Jewish community, but no one was aware he had been in detention.

He left for Israel shortly after beginning his law career in Melbourne, citing a need to be more connected to his culture.

Zygier's father Geoffrey is a well-known leader in the Jewish community in Melbourne, where he is executive director of the B'Nai B'Rith Anti-Defamation Commission, and former executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and Victorian Jewish Community Council.

His mother Louise is the former philanthropic relations director at Monash University Law School.

His sister, Tully Zygier, is a community development worker at Yooralla who has a monthly radio show and is a prolific blogger. On November 21, 2011, she made reference to "the end of last year when I was going through a very hard time".

In May 10, 2011, she reflected on the personal nature of her blogs, before adding: "It is not my right for me to share personal information about my family and I will continue to keep that part separate."

Former lawyer Patrick Durkin, who now works as a journalist for The Australian Financial Review, yesterday wrote about his time studying law with Zygier.

"I remember drinking with Ben one night in 2001 when he recounted his famous story about taking a bullet in the posterior during his military service in Israel, which he served shortly before joining our group," Durkin said.

"He described in vivid detail serving on the front line and backtracking across war-torn countryside while gunfire peppered the ground.

"He was extremely proud of his time in the military, despite our endless teasing about the wound we never asked to see."

Zygier's musician uncle Willy Zygier, who is the partner of Melbourne singer Deborah Conway, told the ABC he had "no idea what is true, what isn't true" about his nephew's death.

"All I know is there's a family tragedy," Willy Zygier said. "Every suicide is a tragedy. That's all I've got to say."

A source familiar with Zygier's case suggested the former Melbourne resident may have been psychologically disturbed, describing him as "off-centre".

Zygier's detention and death coincided with another scandal involving Australia and Israel's overseas spy agency, Mossad.

In March 2010 then-foreign minister Stephen Smith expelled Mossad's station chief in Canberra after Mossad was found to have fabricated the passports of four Australians who had dual citizenship.

Those passports were then used in an Israeli operation to assassinate Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in February of that year.

It is not known if the two cases are connected.

The revelation of prisoner X's identity prompted debate in Israel's parliament yesterday.

Labor's Nahman Shai said: "The Israeli public will know sooner or later everything that happened. It is best to present the truth to the public, within certain security restrictions."

Three prominent politicians criticised the government's move to prevent Israeli media naming Zygier or linking him to Israel's spy service, Mossad.

A suppression order was lifted last night but earlier in the day, after Israeli media first reported the story on their websites, the Prime Minister's office called an emergency meeting to pressure editors to kill the story. The action revealed the extreme sensitivity surrounding the case.

Normally in Israel the media is free to report national security stories if they originate overseas. Any stories that originate in Israel must be submitted to a censor for approval. On this occasion the government called a meeting of the Israeli Editors Committee and pressured them to kill the story.

Prominent Israeli politicians angrily denounced the earlier gag, suggesting it was done out of embarrassment rather than national security considerations.

Additional reporting: Rachel Baxendale, Adam Shand


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/aussi e-agent-ben-zygier-jailed-for-treason-in-israel/story-fn59nm2j-1226577 492430
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הקשרים של `המאפיה` המשפטית נחשפים

הצטרף עכשיו למאבק של נקים נגד השחיתות השלטונית

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