[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 21 April 2007, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Egyptian jailed for Israel spying
Mohammed al-Attar
Attar claimed his confession had been extracted through torture
A Cairo court has sentenced a man with dual Egyptian-Canadian citizenship to 15 years in jail for spying.

Mohammed al-Attar was convicted of being an agent for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

The 31-year-old had confessed to the charge, but later said the admission had been extracted under torture by Egypt's intelligence services.

Three Israeli defendants who were being tried in absentia on related charges were also convicted.

Like Attar, the trio were handed 15 year sentences and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,700; 850) by Judge Sayyed al-Gohary of Cairo's State Security Emergency Court.

A former student at Cairo's al-Azhar university, 31-year-old Attar had been accused of contacting Israeli agents in Turkey and spying on expatriate Arabs there and in Canada.

Homosexuality claim

A transcript of his confession, which was seen by a Canadian newspaper, said he had recruited gay or impoverished Arabs in Canada for Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence branch.

Attar denied being homosexual, although it was cited as a reason for an application he made for refugee status with the United Nations.

Speaking to reporters during one of his court appearances Attar had insisted that he was innocent and appealed to the Canadian government for help and to provide him with a lawyer.

Officials in Israel said they had only learned about the case from the media.

Human rights groups say torture, including sexual abuse, is routinely used by the Egyptian security services during interrogation of prisoners.

The government denies systematic abuse, but has investigated a number of high profile torture cases.

'Mossad' trial resumes in Cairo
28 Feb 07 |  Middle East
Egyptians release Israeli 'spy'
05 Dec 04 |  Middle East
Egyptian charged as spy for Iran
29 Jan 05 |  Middle East
Thaw in Egypt-Israel cold peace
05 Dec 04 |  Middle East
Country profile: Egypt
22 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific