Egyptian gets 5 years for selling book about spy who tipped off Israel

Court convicts Khaled Lotfi of divulging military secrets for distributing book about Marwan Ashraf, credited with warning Israel about coming Yom Kippur surprise attack

Ashraf Marwan. (Screenshot from "The Israeli Connection," via YouTube)
Ashraf Marwan. (Screenshot from "The Israeli Connection," via YouTube)

CAIRO — The founder of an Egyptian publishing house was sentenced to five years in prison for distributing an Arabic version of an Israeli novel, his brother said Tuesday.

The novel, entitled “The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel,” by Israeli writer Uri Bar-Joseph, portrays Ashraf Marwan, the son-in-law of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, as a spy for the Jewish state.

Khaled Lotfi has been on trial in a military court since 2018 for publishing an Arabic version of the book two years earlier.

The publisher, accused of having “divulged military secrets,” was sentenced to five years in prison despite appealing against an initial ruling, his brother Mahmoud Lotfi told AFP.

“There is no other recourse but a presidential pardon,” he said.

Marwan has been credited in Israel with telling Mossad head Zvi Zamir about a coming surprise attack on Yom Kippur 1973, though the warning was ultimately ignored and Israel was caught off guard.

A 2018 film based on the book, titled “The Angel,” was met with outrage by Egyptian media, which slated it as a manipulation of history.

Marwan, who also worked as an adviser to president Anwar Sadat after the death of Nasser in 1970, died in 2007 in London in mysterious circumstances.

Egyptian authorities arranged a grand funeral and Marwan was hailed as a hero.

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