Middle East

Lebanon politician Karam charged with spying for Israel

File photo of Fayez Karam, 2005
Image caption Fayez Karam is accused of meeting Israeli officers outside Lebanon

A military court in Lebanon has charged a former general and Christian party politician with spying for Israel.

Fayez Karam was arrested last week, the first politician to be detained amid a broader inquiry into Israeli spy networks which was launched last year.

He is charged with giving Israel intelligence on Hezbollah and his own Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).

Mr Karam was in charge of the Lebanese army's anti-terrorism and counter-espionage unit in the 1980s.

Mr Karam was close to FPM leader Michel Aoun, a former head of the Lebanese army who is now allied to Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

He has been accused of meeting Israeli officers abroad as well as giving them information by phone in return for money and weapons.

Lebanon has arrested dozens of people accused of spying for Israel since last year, including officials from the security forces and telecoms employees.

At least two have been sentenced to death, including one convicted for helping Israel in its 2006 war with Hezbollah.

Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar was quoted at the weekend as saying that the suspects were "of all sects and denominations. There are some truly complex and unbelievable cases".

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