Mobinil challenges sentencing of four employees on espionage charges

Mobinil said on Monday it would challenge the upholding of a court ruling that sentenced four of its employees, including the chairman of the board, to three to five years in prison on charges of complicity with an Israeli spy mission.

The Economic Court of Appeal upheld the the ruling that was issued by the Economic Misdimeanor Court on 20 May 2012. Mobinil’s statement said the company fully respected the judiciary, but was certain that its people were innocent and would challenge the verdict before the Court of Cassation.

The defendants include board chairman Iskander Shalaby, who was sentenced to three years in prison; Mahmoud Hadary, director of network design; Tarek Shahin, director of quality control and Fady Farid, a quality control engineer, who were each sentenced to five years imprisonment.

In addition, Shalaby and Hadary were fined LE200,000, and Shahin was fined LE500,000. All the defendants were fined LE10,000 to be paid to Telecom Egypt, and four of those sentenced were also ordered to pay a total of LE210,918 to Telecom Egypt.

The charges stem from from a related case that is being tried seperately, the so-called “Jordanian spy” case. Bashar Ibrahim Abu Zeid, a Jordanian communications engineer, is standing trial on charges of espionage, as is fugitive Israeli Mossad officer Ophir Herare.

Authorities accuse Abu Zeid of entering Egypt after the 25 January uprising to work as an agent for the Mossad. He was arrested by security forces in March 2011. Herare is accused of overseeing Abu Zeid’s operations in the country. The Israeli citizen fled the country and is now being tried in absentia.

Intelligence service agents claim that Abu Zeid and Herare agreed to intercept international calls coming into Egypt and transfer them to Israel to allow Israeli security services to gather information on Egyptian national security. The four Mobinil employees were found guilty of assisting the two alleged agents by passing calls outside of Egypt in violation of the law.

The prosecution also alleges that Herare asked Abu Zeid to identify Egyptian intelligence agents working in telecommunications.

Abu Zeid was also charged with collecting data on employees working with Egyptian mobile operators and who travel abroad for work, with the aim of recruiting suitable candidates to work for the Mossad.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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