Israel ex-minister sentenced to 11 years for spying for Iran

Former Israeli cabinet minister Gonen Segev has previously served prison time on criminal charges. (AFP pic)

JERUSALEM: An Israeli ex-minister was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Tuesday for spying for his country’s main enemy Iran after a plea bargain in the case, the prosecutor said.

Gonen Segev, who served as energy and infrastructure minister from 1995 to 1996, had previously agreed to a plea bargain on charges of serious espionage and transfer of information to the enemy.

Court hearings were held in secret due to the nature of the case.

Prosecutor Geula Cohen confirmed to journalists outside the Jerusalem court that the judge had accepted the plea bargain and issued the sentence.

Segev served in the Labour government of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin after defecting from the far right to cast the decisive vote in favour of the Oslo II peace agreement with the Palestinians.

He has previously served prison time on criminal charges.

In 2004, he was charged with trying to smuggle 30,000 ecstasy pills into Israel from the Netherlands using a diplomatic passport with a falsified expiry date.

The following year, he admitted the charges as part of a plea bargain.

He has also been convicted of attempted credit card fraud.