Spy Petitions Israeli Court, Says Illness Justifies Freedom

An Israeli scientist convicted of spying for the former Soviet Union has once again asked to be set free because of his poor health.

Marcus klingberg, 77 filed a petition in the Beersheba District Court last week in which he asked the court to recommend to Police Minister Moshe Shahal that he be released after serving 12 years of his 20-year sentence.

After a five-hour hearing, the court decided to render its finding at a later time.

Klingberg, who had been deputy head of the Biological Institute in Ness Ziona, disappeared in the early 1980s. Two year ago, media organizations reported the reason for his disappearance, saying he had been convicted of spying for the former Soviet union.

The news reports said the Russian-born epidemics expert had been charged with passing on information about germ warfare to the Russians.

Last summer, Klingberg, who is being held in the Ashkelon prison, appealed his sentence. He had suffered a stroke, and said a release was warranted because of his deteriorating health and because he had served two-thirds of his sentence.

“I am very weak,” he had written, “and am asking that you let me spend what’s left of my life with my family.”

The parole board rejected that appeal, saying Klingberg still represents a threat to state security.

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