Ha'aretz, May 31, 1999
Manbar asks Supreme Court to hear British spy
Convicted arms dealer wants MI6 renegade to testify behind closed doorsBy Yossi Melman, Ha'aretz Correspondent
The government of Israel is opposed to allowing a former British intelligence officer to testify in the appeal of Nahum Manbar, who was convicted of selling chemical weapon components to Iran and sentenced last July to 16 years in prison.
Manbar's attorney, Dror Arad-Ayalon, has appealed to the Supreme Court to hear the testimony of Richard Tomlinson, a renegade MI6 officer currently living in Switzerland who is wanted in Britain for violating secrecy agreements. The appeal claims that the former British agent could shed new light on the case and provide evidence that was previously unavailable.
Manbar's petition is based on an article published in Ha'aretz that uncovered Tomlinson's involvement as an MI6 operative in a joint mission with the Mossad and Dutch intelligence to infiltrate Iran's chemical weapons program.
Following the publication of this story, Manbar's attorney contacted Tomlinson, who said he was willing to provide closed-door testimony in Israel in return for immunity.
Tomlinson told Manbar's lawyer - and Ha'aretz - that British businesswoman Joy Kiddie aided British and Israeli intelligence in the joint mission against Iran.
Kiddie was a business partner with Manbar and testified against him during his trial.
Devorah Chen of the State Prosecutor's office said the government opposes calling in Tomlinson to testify. She argued that Manbar and his attorney had not presented the Supreme Court with any "deposition or other information" detailing the testimony of the witness or how this testimony relates to Manbar's conviction.
It is inappropriate for the court to relate to newspaper accounts given by controversial figures such as Tomlinson, the prosecutor continued.
Chen noted that Manbar had told the Tel Aviv District Court that Kiddie had not assisted him in the Iran matter. In fact, she said, he had denied any direct or indirect involvement in Iran's chemical weapons program.
Chen also quoted from the testimony of former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit and noted that the defense chose not to question him about any alleged mission against Iran. She cited legal arguments to explain that it would be highly irregular to allow that new evidence be submitted at the appeal stage in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has not yet set a date to hear Manbar's appeal or his various petitions, including the one for Tomlinson to testify. Due to monetary disputes with his previous legal team, it is not clear who will represent Manbar at his Supreme Court appeal.
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