Daily Israel Report

State Reaches Plea Bargain with Samaria 'Spies'

Five Samaria residents who were charged with espionage will serve minor sentences because no evidence was found against them.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/27/2012, 1:14 AM

Attorney Adi Kedar
Attorney Adi Kedar
Yoni Kempinski

The State Attorney's Office on Wednesday reached a plea bargain with five residents of Judea and Samaria who had been charged with collecting military information for the purpose of foiling planned evacuation of outposts.

The case was closed because the police had difficulty obtaining significant evidence against the five, who had also been given restraining orders by police and were forced to leave their homes in Yitzhar. Under the plea bargain, the five will serve a sentence of a few months in prison.

The five were originally accused by police of espionage because they warned Jews residing in communities in Judea and Samaria of impending demolitions of homes. Facing pressure, the government later withdrew those charges.

Attorney Adi Kedar, who represented several of the defendants in the case, told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday that the plea bargain was a sort of painful compromise.

"I'm not satisfied at all," he admitted. "It was a difficult decision to go for a plea bargain. The case could have been heard in court and ended in other ways, but sometimes one also needs to make difficult decisions and this is certainly a plea bargain which goes easy on the defendants."

According to Kedar, despite the pain he feels that the five will serve a few months in prison, the whole case is a blow to the prosecution. "This is a blow to the conduct of the prosecution, which began with serious charges and accused them of espionage."

"The truth is they were looking for them," he added. "They wanted to keep them away from Samaria so they came up with a minor charge. Calling it espionage was absurd. It turned out to be far from reality."