Journalist Uri Blau convicted of holding classified military documents

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Uri Blau, the Haaretz journalist who accepted classified documents from an Israeli soldier, was convicted under a plea bargain.

As part of the plea deal, Blau agreed to admit to holding secret intelligence without intent to harm national security, according to Haaretz. The Tel Aviv District Court will be asked to sentence Blau to four months imprisonment, which will be converted to community service.

"This affair took over my life," Blau said Tuesday in court, Ynet reported. "It’s hard for me to accept the outcomes of this case. I am a journalist, and as such must provide the public with the maximum information in order to allow it to judge and understand reality."

It is the first time a journalist in Israel has been tried for possession of classified information.

Blau had faced up to seven years in prison on charges of "severe espionage," which means that he allegedly obtained or kept secret information without authorization, but without intent to harm state security.

Last month, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said he would indict Blau for being in possession of thousands of military documents, many of them top secret.

Blau allegedly accepted more than 1,500 classified military documents on a disk on key from Anat Kamm, 22, who is serving a 4 1/2-year prison term after accepting a plea bargain. Kamm had stolen the documents during her military service.
 

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