Dozens of Lebanese citizens have been given prison sentences of up to 15 years by a military court in Beirut "for collaborating with Israel and acquiring Israeli citizenship."
The all 31 Lebanese citizens, including several women, were sentenced in absentia, a judicial source said Wednesday without providing further details, AFP reported.
The court issued the verdict as all the convicted people left Lebanon for Israel in 2000 when the Israeli troops withdrew from the country after a 22-year occupation.
Since April 2009, Lebanon — technically in a state of war with Israel — has launched a nationwide crackdown on Israeli spy cells arresting nearly 100 people, including members of the country’s security forces and telecom personnel, on suspicion of spying for Israel’s notorious intelligence service, Mossad.
A number of the suspects have admitted their role in helping Israel identify targets inside Lebanon during 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon.
The most high-profile arrest came in August after Fayez Karam, a former army general and Christian party politician, was charged with spying for Israel.
Karam, who was in charge of the Lebanese army’s anti-terrorism and counter-espionage unit in the 1980s, has been accused of meeting Mossad agents outside Lebanon and giving them information in exchange for money and weapons.
If convicted, the spies will face life sentences with hard labor. Should they be found guilty of contributing to the loss of Lebanese life, the agents will face capital punishment.
So far, five Lebanese have been sentenced to death for spying for the Mossad.