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Imprisoned Spy Loses Appeal for Release

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After serving 11 years in prison, an Israeli convicted of spying for the former Soviet Union has lost an appeal for early release.

Professor Marcus Klingberg, 76, formerly a prominent biologist, was convicted in a closed-door trial in 1983 for passing information about germ warfare to Moscow.

Klingberg recently suffered two strokes, and his attorney, Avigdor Feldman, has been campaigning for his release.

But at a hearing at the Ashkelon prison last Friday, a prison review panel upheld a request by state prosecutors to reject the appeal, saying Klingberg “still represents a threat to state security.”

Klingberg immigrated to Israel in 1948, shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel. After studying medicine, he was appointed a professor of epidemiology and subsequently rose to the post of deputy head of the Biological Institute in Ness Ziona, near Rehovot.

He disappeared in 1983 while on his way to a scientific convention in Europe. Rumors spread that he had defected to the Soviet Union.

Israelis only learned last year that Klingberg was serving prison time. He has been held in solitary confinement, serving an 18-year sentence.

Because of the U.S. Independence Day holiday, the JTA Daily News Bulletin will not be published Monday, July 4.

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