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Court orders ex-minister charged as Iran spy held for remainder of trial

Gonen Segev keeps mum as he goes into closed-door session which lasts just 20 minutes as charge sheet read out

Gonen Segev, a former Israeli government minister indicted on suspicion of spying for Iran, is seen in the District Court in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 5, 2018. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)
Gonen Segev, a former Israeli government minister indicted on suspicion of spying for Iran, is seen in the District Court in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 5, 2018. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

The Jerusalem District Court on Thursday extended the remand of a former minister-turned alleged spy for Iran until the end of legal proceedings against him, as his case formally opened.

Gonen Segev is accused of “aggravated espionage” as well as assisting the enemy in wartime, attempted aggravated espionage and dozens of counts of attempting to provide information to the enemy.

He allegedly met with Iranian intelligence officials repeatedly over the past six years, supplying the Iranians with information.

Segev denies working against Israel’s interests.

The hearing, under Judge Rafi Carmel, took place behind closed doors due to the sensitivity of the case.

Gonen Segev, a former Israeli government minister indicted on suspicion of spying for Iran, is seen in the District Court in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 5, 2018. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

It took just 20 minutes to read the charge sheet against the man whose former ministerial responsibilities included energy and infrastructure.

Segev refused to answer reporters’ questions on his way into the court.

On Wednesday, prosecutors released a full charge sheet, though many details of charges against Segev were redacted.

Gonen Segev, a former Israeli government minister indicted on suspicion of spying for Iran, is seen in the District Court in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 5, 2018. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

Prosecutor Geula Cohen said many items would remain under wraps.

“We are trying to make available to the public as many details as possible, as we’ve done so far. But there are still things to which the public cannot be exposed,” she said.

Former Israeli minister Gonen Segev interviewed in 2016 in Nigeria (Screen capture: Hadashot news)

Segev was arrested in May and extradited from Equatorial Guinea to Israel.

He had been living in Nigeria since being released from prison on a drug smuggling rap in 2007.

He was indicted in a Jerusalem court last month, but details of the charges against him were not immediately released.

Two weeks ago, permission was given to publish the fact that serious charges had been brought against Segev. It emerged then that he had tried to meet with graduates of the Israel defense establishment expert in fields such as security and infrastructure and to lure them to do business in Nigeria.

In coordination with the Iranians, he allegedly offered them the chance to meet with individuals closely connected to the Nigerian authorities who were in fact people from Iran, according to Channel 2 News.

Israelis who smelled a rat reported their discomfort to the Israeli security services, and thus began the trail that led to Segev’s arrest.

Gonen Segev, a former Israeli government minister indicted on suspicion of spying for Iran, is seen in the District Court in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 5, 2018. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

On Wednesday, a heavily edited version of the charge sheet was released.

According to that, he allegedly met with Iranian intelligence officials repeatedly over the past six years, including twice in Tehran, having traveled to the Islamic Republic on a non-Israeli passport, according to the Shin Bet security service.

In addition to allegedly supplying the Iranians with information, the prosecution also said Segev “carried out various missions when he was asked.” The details of those “missions” were redacted.

The charge sheet said: “The defendant gave the Iranians secret information with the intention of harming state security. Among other things, the information included the location of security installations, the names of security personnel, and more. The accused also gave the Iranians dozens of pieces of information in order to harm state security.”

Segev, through his attorneys, has denied that he worked against the interests of Israel, saying that he was trying to act as a double agent against Iran in the hope of returning to the Jewish state as a hero.

Judah Ari Gross and Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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