Israeli Mossad Agent Admits Spying
An Israeli secret agent has pleaded guilty in a Swiss court to spying charges relating to a botched mission that sparked a diplomatic incident between the two countries, reported the BBC.online.
The man was brought into the federal court in Lausanne by a back door to avoid photographers, and testified with his Swiss lawyers and Israeli embassy representatives at his side.
He refused to give his real name, telling the court through an interpreter "it would affect my own personal security if I gave my true identity."
In a concession to Israeli sensitivities, the presiding judge did not insist that he should divulge his true identity, the BBC added.
Known under a cover name, Isaac Bental, he admitted to the main charges against him - of installing an illegal listening device and carrying false identity papers, said the BBC.
Bental was caught red-handed with four other Mossad agents trying to install a telephone bug in an apartment block in the Swiss capital, Berne, in February, 1998.
He was released on $2m bail after spending two months in a Swiss prison, said the BBC.
Bental said that the owner of the apartment, a Swiss of Lebanese origin, was a suspected member of the Hizbollah movement.
He said his mission had been to save the lives of those targeted and prevent terrorist attacks.
He explained that he had joined Mossad to help his country and that he personally had never carried out acts, which went against his conscience, the BBC said.
Bental's lawyers presented documents from the Israeli government saying that he would never return to Switzerland on duty for Mossad.
Although other Mossad agents and alleged Mossad agents have been charged with spying abroad, it is believed to be the first time a confirmed member of the Israeli agency has gone on trial outside Israel. The hearing is expected to last four other days, according to the BBC - Albawaba.com
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