Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two residents from Golan and one from Galilee charged with attempted kidnap and spying for Syria

Two residents of the Golan and one from northern Israel will be indicted by a Nazareth court on Thursday on charges they  spied for Syria, Haaretz reports. Fada Sha'ar (27, picture with 'oud) , his father Majd Sha'ar (58, picture in court building)) from Majdal Shams on the Golan and Mahmoud Masarwah from Bakaa al-Gharbiyeh will be charged with spying, contact with foreign agents and passing information to the enemy.All three were arrested last month in a case whose details have been kept under a gag order which has now been lifted. Also the mother of Fada Sha'ar, Mona, was arrested in connection with the case, but was later freed.
Fada Sha'ar was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport on July 10 when he returned from Paris. When police arrived to search his house in the Druze village of Majdal Shams clashes broke out between the residents of the village who attempted to prevent the police from entering the Sha'ar family's home. His father, Majd, was arrested a few weeks later. Masarwah is a well-known political activist from Baka al-Gharbiyeh, who has been active over recent years on behalf of political prisoners jailed in Israel. He has been arrested in the past and has spent some time in prison.
The indictment, filed by the State Prosecution's northern branch with the Nazareth District Court, claimed that Majed and Fada Sha'ar had been in contact with former Majdal Shams resident Madhat Salah, who moved to Syria, held a number of positions within the administration in Damascus and was in contact with local intelligence sources.  According to the indictment, Masarwa disclosed information on a Syrian pilot who had defected to Israel currently resides in Baqa el Gharbiya. Majed Sha'ar and Masarwa allegedly met Salah in Jordan, where they drew up the plan to kidnap the pilot, who they nicknamed "the bride", in exchange for a financial reward. The two returned to Israel and tried to locate the pilot. During another meeting with Salah and a Syrian agent, this time in Cairo, Sha'ar and Masarwa were asked about military bases in Israel. Salah gave Masarwa $1,000 and promised to give him more money.
The prosecution claims this activity, including efforts to track down the Syrian pilot, began in 2007 and continued through 2009.
In 2009, according to the indictment, Fada, who studied music in Damascus from 2002 to 2008, began relaying information regarding "the bride". Majed Sha'ar even obtained a sedative and syringes he planned to use in the kidnapping.
The second indictment provides details on how Majed and Masarwa filmed IDF bases located just a few kilometers from Baqa el Gharbiya. They planned to transfer the tapes to Syria.
A third indictment claims the defendants passed on to their Syrian contact a sketch "marking the movement of IDF forces towards Syria in the event of a war.
According to the indictment, the drawing was meant to "mark the positioning of IDF tanks and planes in the Golan Heights."
The indictment further claimed that towards the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010, while Majed was in Haifa, he spotted a submarine making its way north. He relayed the information to Fada and warned of a possible Israeli attack on Syria.

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