Hosni Mubarak denied that a retired Egyptian intelligence officer who fell to his death in Britain had spied for Israel. The Egyptian president came out Monday against claims by former Israeli intelligence chiefs that the late Ashraf Marwan had warned Jerusalem ahead of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. “I have no doubts whatsoever about the patriotism of Dr. Ashraf Marwan, and I knew the details of what he was doing to serve his nation,” Mubarak told reporters. “He carried out patriotic acts which it is not time yet to reveal, but he was indeed a patriotic Egyptian and was not a spy for any organisation at all.” Marwan, who had served in Egyptian intelligence and was married to a daughter of Mubarak’s predecessor, Gamal Abdel Nasser, suffered fatal injuries after falling from the balcony of his luxury London home last week. Though British authorities treated the incident as an accident, there was speculation that Marwan may have committed suicide or been assassinated. Former heads of Israel’s military intelligence and its civilian counterpart, Mossad, said that Marwan tipped them off about Egypt’s surprise offensive in October 1973. The warning was ignored as one of the spymasters suspected Marwan of being a double agent planted to sow disinformation.
A teenager whose testimony helped pass hate crimes legislation strongly backed by Jewish groups killed himself. David Ritcheson, an 18-year-old Mexican-American, committed suicide Sunday night by leaping off a cruise ship bound for Mexico.
After being beaten and sodomized last year by two teens who shouted racial epithets, Ritcheson testified in Washington on behalf of hate crimes legislation. The Anti-Defamation League paid for Ritcheson’s trip to the capital and also awarded the teen a full college scholarship.
“He seemed to be a great kid who just wanted to take something very, very bad that had happened to him and make something good out of it for other people,” said Dena Marks of the Anti-Defamation League Southwest Regional Office. “He worked very hard toward that.”
The hate crimes legislation, known as “David’s Bill,” is backed by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the National Council of Jewish Women, Agudath Israel of America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in addition to the ADL. Advisers to the president have recommended a veto in deference to Christian conservatives who oppose its expansion of hate crimes victims to include gays.