LEBANESE SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR SPYING FOR ISRAEL
February 18, 2010: A retired member of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces was sentenced to death for having spied for Israel and for his involvement in the murder of two Palestinian militant leaders.
Mahmoud Qassem Rafeh, 63, was convicted of "collaboration and espionage on behalf of the Israeli enemy," according to the verdict handed down by a military tribunal.
He was also convicted of involvement in the 2006 car bomb murder in the southern coastal town of Sidon of brothers Mahmoud and Nidal Mazjoub, members of the Islamic Jihad group.
A second defendant, Hussein Sleiman Khattab, was convicted in absentia.
Under Lebanese law, they have the right to appeal. At the same time, any death sentenced must be signed both by the country's prime minister and its president to be carried out.
Rafeh was arrested in 2006 and confessed last year to having collaborated with Israeli intelligence agents from 1993.
Lebanon and Israel remain in a state of war, and convicted spies face life in prison with hard labour or the death penalty if found guilty of contributing to Lebanese loss of life. (Sources: Afp, 18/02/2010)