Former Israeli Soldier and Journalist Arrested

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Former Israeli soldier turned journalist Anat Kam has been held under secret house arrest by Israeli authorities based on allegations that during her service she leaked classified military documents suggesting that the Israeli army violated laws related to targeted killings, reports Jewish and Israel News.

Kam was working at the Israeli website Walla at the time of her arrest, partially owned by Israeli news source Haaretz. Kam is alleged to have photocopied sensitive documents, which are believed to have served as a source for a 2008 Haaretz story suggesting army violations. Kam has denied all charges.

The arrest has been under a gag order in Israel, which prevents many details of the case from being publicly released, including the prosecution's reasoning for seeking a 14-year sentence, considered harsh in Israel.

Although Israel has a long-standing history of supporting freedoms of speech and the press, there is a taboo against relaying information attained while in military service. The fact that Kam was an active officer at the time she allegedly photocopied these documents may work against her.

The 2008 article revealed the existence of documents that defy the 2006 Supreme Court ruling against the assassination of wanted militants who might otherwise be arrested safely. Another document reveals that an Israeli general permitted open-fire procedures upon identification of any of three leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, even if it were not apparent that they posed a dangerous threat. Another document reveals that troops were only to withhold fire if they were unable to identify "more than one" passenger in a targeted vehicle. Both these orders violate the law, according to Haaretz's expert sources.

Dov Alfron, editor of Haaretz, denies any linkage between Kam's arrest and the 2008 article.

"Haaretz asked the court to lift the gag order, not just in the public interest but also to allow us to defend ourselves from this absurd allegation," says Alfron. "More than a year passed between the publication and her arrest, a year in which Uri Blau published several other front-page articles criticizing the army's conduct."

Both Kam's lawyers and the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment.


Brian Steffen November 5, 2010 at 6:54 PM  

Morgan: Make sure your post is in the proper font and point size for our style. That's best done by writing your post in the blogger window rather than pasting it in from Word or some other word processor.

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