Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 17:35 UK

Israel lifts gagging order on Anat Kam espionage case

Anat Kam
Anat Kam worked in the office of the IDF central command

A gagging order stopping Israeli media from reporting the case of a former soldier accused of leaking top secret documents has been partially lifted.

Anat Kam, 23, has been charged with "serious espionage" for allegedly giving more than 2,000 Israeli military documents to a journalist.

Observers believe they form the basis for claims the military ignored a major court ruling on killing militants.

Ms Kam's lawyer said she did not harm, or intend to harm, national security.

"Anat denies that any damage was done to the security of the State of Israel or that it was ever her intention to do so," Eitan Lehman said.

A representative for the former soldier, who did not give a name, said security services were trying to paint her as an "enemy of the state".

She was a "Zionist" who acted as a "concerned citizen", not a left-wing activist, the representative said.

Israeli authorities say the journalist in question, Uri Blau of Haaretz newspaper, may still have some secret documents.

Ms Kam, who has worked as a journalist for the Israeli news website Walla, is widely reported to have been under house arrest in Israel since December.

But until Thursday, the gagging order had prevented Israeli media from reporting the case - although details have emerged through the international media.

On Thursday the Ministry of Justice said some limitations remained in place "to maintain state security".


Ms Kam did her national service in the office of the General Commander of the Israeli military's Central Command, which is responsible for activities in the West Bank.

She is alleged to have saved onto DVD 2,000 military documents, 700 of which were "secret or top secret", and taken them home and copied them onto her laptop.

The Ministry of Justice said the case was "exceptionally serious" and the documents included detailed military operational plans and a description of IDF deployments during both routine and emergency periods.

The Israeli state believes she passed some of these documents to Uri Blau, a reporter on the newspaper Haaretz.

There has been widespread speculation that they formed the basis for a report he wrote in November 2008, saying that Israeli forces in the West Bank had breached new rules on the targeting of suspected Palestinian militants.

A 2006 Supreme Court ruling had required that efforts should be made first to arrest rather than kill them.

The report accused the IDF of unilaterally loosening their regulations and designating two leaders of Islamic Jihad as targets for assassination.

At the time, the military said the militants had fired on its forces before they were killed.

The Ministry of Justice said the gagging order, which was heavily criticised in Israel, had been in place to help exhaust the possibilities for the return of the stolen documents, and to prevent obstruction of the investigation.

It said the release of the documents could "endanger human life", and "reach hostile elements and thus would cause hard and continuous damage to state security".

But Mr Lehman pointed out that all the articles in question in Haaretz newspaper had been approved for publication by Israel's military censor.

Mr Blau is currently outside Israel and publishing stories in Haaretz under a London dateline.

The Ministry of Justice said it had been trying to agree a deal with him for the return of documents it believed to still be in his possession.

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