A Lebanese man suspected of spying for Israel has been sentenced to death on charges of treason – the second such verdict to be handed down recently.
The man, Ali Mantash, was convicted of transferring to Israel classified information that was used during the 2006 Second Lebanon War against the Hizbullah terrorist organization.
Mantash, arrested in April 2009, was sentenced on the same day that Lebanese Alfa Telecom executive Charbel Qazzi was charged with spying for Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad.
Earlier in the day, Qazzi's case was transferred to a military court after a prosecutor charged him with espionage. If convicted, he too could receive the death sentence.
Qazzi, whose arrest was announced with much fanfare by Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah earlier this month, allegedly had confessed to planting programs and special electronic chips provided to him by Israel in the company's transmission stations.
In addition to Qazzi, two of his assistants were arrested by security forces and their equipment confiscated. A senior technician at the state-run mobile phone network with access to “sensitive information” was arrested in June on similar charges.
More than 70 people have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel in the past two years, including a number of highly-placed military officials.
Azmi Bishara, ex Israeli MK (Balad) accused of aiding Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War, left Israel to prevent arrest. Three Israeli Arabs were arrested in Israel recently on similar charges. Israel, however, does not exercise the death penalty.