Israeli journalist reaches plea bargain with state

Jul 5, 2012, 10:44 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) – An investigative reporter who faced indictment for exposing classified military documents has reached a plea bargain with the government that will allow him to avoid jail time, his newspaper and the justice ministry said Thursday.

The government had announced in May that it would charge Uri Blau from the liberal Haaretz newspaper with unauthorized possession of state secrets, stirring up fears of a crusade to stifle the press. Journalists had said charges against Blau would make reporters hesitate to do their jobs, for fear they might end up in jail.

Blau would have faced up to seven years in prison if convicted. Instead, he will be sentenced to four months in prison that can be commuted to four months community service, the ministry said. He will admit to holding secret intelligence, without intent to harm national security, Haaretz reported.

The newspaper did not immediately issue a statement and Blau did not immediately return a call for comment.

Blau obtained more than 2,000 military documents, including operational plans and lists of potential Palestinian assassination targets, from a former soldier who copied them from army computers during her military service. About 700 were classified.

He published some of the information in investigative articles, including a 2007 story alleging the army had planned to kill wanted Palestinian militants in violation of a court order to arrest them alive if possible.

As required under Israeli law, Blau submitted all of his stories to Israel’s military censor before they were published. The censor approved the articles, meaning they contained no information deemed dangerous to state security.

Still, the Justice Ministry had said in May that Blau would be indicted because “the potential for damage in the unprotected possession of the documents was enormous.” It concluded the gravity of his conduct outweighed the public’s right to know.

Other legal experts said the ministry could have chosen not to prosecute. Blau said he was just doing his job.

Anat Kamm, the soldier who leaked the material to him, was sentenced last year to 4 1/2 years in prison on espionage charges.

After her 2009 arrest, Haaretz kept Blau abroad for about a year to avoid prosecution. He returned to Israel after promising prosecutors to return the documents she gave him, which he eventually did.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

People search a collapsed building following an earthquake in Azmarin town, Idlib province, norther...
Associated Press

Death toll soars after powerful earthquake rocks Turkey and Syria

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, killing and injuring thousands of people.
1 day ago
FILE - A fuel trucks drives along a highway in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 27, 2023. European Union go...
Associated Press

Europe bans Russian diesel, other oil products over Ukraine

The new sanctions create uncertainty about prices as the 27-nation European Union finds new supplies of diesel from the U.S., Middle East and India.
2 days ago
(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
4 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
4 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Israeli journalist reaches plea bargain with state