Egyptian Goes on Trial in January on Charges of Spying for Israel
An Egyptian accused of spying for Israel will stand trial on January 13 in state security court, a top Egyptian judge, Wahid Mahmud, told a press conference Monday.
Sherif Fawzi al-Filali, a 34-year-old engineer, was arrested at his home in a northeast Cairo suburb on September 27 and has been under detention since then.
A former Russian officer who was accused of recruiting him in Spain has also been charged in his absence in the case. The two could be sentenced to 25 years in prison with forced labor if found guilty of the spying charges.
The pair are accused of working for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, "having received funds from Mossad to supply information on the political, economic and military situation in Egypt, and harming the nation's interests," according to the charge sheet.
Filali admitted during interrogation that he had been asked to gather "intelligence on the Egyptian army's weapons, the Toshka irrigation project, and tourism in Egypt," sources close to the prosecution added.
Toshka is a mammoth project aimed at diverting Nile water from Lake Nasser near Abu Simbel to the western desert, where farms to grow grapes and other produce for European and other markets are being cultivated.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office denied any involvement with the case.
Relations between Egypt and Israel have cooled off in the last 10 weeks of Israeli-Palestinian violence, with Egypt recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv to protest Israel's "excessive use of force."
Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state in 1979, but that peace has passed through frequent frosty patches -- CAIRO (AFP)
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