Israel Envoy to Austria Sentenced for Perjury by Tel Aviv Court

Yehezkel Sahar, Israel’s Ambassador to Austria and former Inspector General of Police, received today a nine-month suspended prison sentence, and was fined 15,000 Israel pounds ($8,000), after being found guilty in District Court here of having given false evidence in a libel suit involving Amos Ben-Gurion, Deputy Police Inspector General.

The sentencing of Mr. Sahar followed a series of trials and appeals which started three years ago, when Amos Ben-Gurion sued a students group known as the Volunteers, for libel. The student group had charged in a pamphlet that Mr. Ben-Gurion had brought about the termination of an investigation of a suspect with whom, it was charged he had been associated. They also charged that Mr. Ben-Gurion utilized his post for his own benefit.

At the libel suit, instituted by Mr. Ben-Gurion against the Volunteers, Mr. Sahar had testified that he did not know that the man with whom Mr. Ben-Gurion was associated was actually suspected of an economic offense and the Volunteers were found guilty of committing libel. In an appeal, the Volunteers were later acquitted and Mr. Sahar was accused of perjury. Mr. Sahar, who had in the meantime served as Israel’s Ambassador in Vienna, was recalled from his post to stand trial.

The Foreign Ministry said this afternoon that Sahar had not yet submitted his resignation, nor had he been relieved of his post. It is known, however, that anticipating a conviction, the Foreign Ministry had already decided on a successor to Mr. Sahar.

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