Military Tribunal postpones espionage hearing

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The permanent Military Tribunal Friday postponed the trial of four citizens accused of spying for Israel. Husband and wife Ramez al-Sayyed and Salam Shoukor, along with Hani Matar and Tannous al-Jalad, a Lebanese national who resides in Israel, all stand accused of communicating with Israeli agents and providing them with confidential information. The Military Tribunal adjourned the session until April 25.

The information in question related to notable political, religious and security figures. The defendants are also charged with attempting to recruit more agents.

The trial had previously been delayed because Matar claimed he was ill. The court subsequently appointed a doctor and a psychiatrist to examine him. The court is awaiting a detailed report from doctors before setting another hearing.

Military police drove Sayyed and his wife Shoukor from their area of imprisonment to the hearing. Sayyed requested to see his wife, a privilege the court granted on the condition that the reunion take place in the presence of military police.

Sayyed and his wife are also charged with monitoring the movements of the head of General Security, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim. The indictment alleges that the couple spied on members of the Resistance Brigades, the Army, Hezbollah and former MP Oussama Saed, and were preparing an assassination attempt on pro-Hezbollah Sheikh Maher Hammoud.

The court claims that they had mapped the routes of their prospective targets and noted the number of escorts they retained. The couple then allegedly communicated this information to Jalad, who would pass it on to his Israeli handlers. The court claims the assassination targets were intentionally chosen in order to elicit sectarian strife between Shiite and Sunni communities.

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