BEIRUT: A Lebanese man arrested last week for allegedly spying for Israel for over 20 years is being questioned by Military Investigative Judge Imad Zein, according to a judicial source who also said that the interrogation was expected to be lengthy. Ali Rafik Yaghi, accused of collaborating with Israel since 1992, could face the death penalty if it is proven his actions resulted in the death of people.
Yaghi, an engineer, was arrested last week by the Lebanese Army Intelligence. The source said it is likely that the Army uncovered Yaghi in coordination with Hezbollah.
A former member of Baalbek’s municipal council and a retired employee at the Transport and Public Works Ministry, Yaghi is accused of providing Israel with information on the military headquarters of Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army, along with Syrian troops who were stationed in Lebanon until April 2005.
He also allegedly provided Israeli intelligence bodies with information on the residence of Sayyed Abbas Musawi, Hezbollah’s former secretary-general who was assassinated by Israel in February 1992; Sheikh Sobhi Tufeili, also a former head of the party; and Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek, a high-ranking Hezbollah official.
Yaghi has allegedly received $600,000 from Israel since he began working for the Jewish state.
Yaghi tipped off Israel on private and public institutions that were then targeted by Israel during its summer 2006 war against Lebanon, and held meetings with Israeli officers in a number of countries, according to judicial reports.
He is also said to have forged a Palestinian Authority passport that he used to enter occupied Palestinian territories and then to pass into Israel where he met Israeli personnel.
Yaghi will face more questioning Wednesday, said the source, and is facing between three years to capital punishment depending on what charges are brought to conviction.
More than 100 collaborators with Israel have been rounded up by the Army and members of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch over the past four years.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said in 2011 that two members of the group were found to be spying for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Nasrallah has urged authorities to hand down death sentences against collaborators with Israel, urging them not to seek a sectarian balance when subjecting spies to capital punishment.
Although it is allowed by law, capital punishment has not been implemented in almost a decade.