Israeli Expert Found Guilty of Passing Secret Data to Soviet Agent

Aharon Cohen, a Middle East and Arab affairs expert, and a member of the Mapam party, was found guilty by the District Court here today of three out of four charges, accusing him of passing secret information to an agent for an unnamed country in the Soviet bloc. He will come before the court for sentencing tomorrow morning, and faces possible imprisonment for 15 years.

Cohen, who is 53, was a member of the Sbaar Haamakim kibbutz. He was arrested on October 17, 1958. He had been under surveillance of Israel security officers several weeks after suspicions were aroused, when a highway patrol noted the automobile belonging to a diplomat from a Communist country approaching a side road near Shaar Haamakim. A man later identified as a foreign agent was observed by the highway patrol using a path through a field for a rendezvous with Cohen.

There were four counts in the indictment on which Cohen was tried. The three counts on which he was found guilty alleged that he collected and passed secret information to a foreign agent between August 1957 and October 1958. The court found him not guilty of the first of the four counts which alleged that he had also passed secret information to the Communist bloc agent prior to December 1956.

District Court Judge S. Kessen, who presided at the trial, read in open court only the one paragraph in the judgment, declaring Cohen guilty on three counts. The remainder of the judgment was read in secret. Cohen’s attorney immediately notified the court that he would appeal the guilty verdict.

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