Espionage trial of Israeli soldier Anat Kamm begins


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The trial of a former Israeli soldier who turned classified military documents over to a reporter began.

Anat Kamm left her home, where she has been under strict house arrest, on Monday to attend the start of her closed-door trial in Tel Aviv District Court.

Kamm has admitted to stealing about 2,000 documents, which she downloaded on to two discs, while serving her mandatory military service in the Israeli army’s Central Command. Though the two original discs have not been found, Haaretz reporter Uri Blau, who is staying in London to avoid arrest and questioning, turned over to Israeli security officials the documents given to him by Kamm, at her request, via his attorneys.

Kamm is charged with two counts of aggravated espionage, according to Haaretz. The first count, punishable by life in prison, involves delivering secret information with the intent to damage state security. The second count, gathering and retaining classified information with the intention of damaging state security, is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The court ruled Monday that Kamm must respond to the charges by the beginning of July and that witness testimonies would begin in December, according to Haaretz. A gag order has been placed on the court proceedings, but some portions of the trial will be open to the public.

According to police documents obtained by Haaretz, Kamm told police that the Israel Defense Forces committed war crimes and that she appropriated the documents to expose them.

“I didn’t have the chance to change some of the things that I found it important to change during my military service, and I thought that by exposing these [materials] I would make a change,” Kamm is quoted as saying in the police documents. “It was important for me to bring the IDF’s policy to public knowledge.”

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