Lawyer Indicted for Passing Information to Islamic Jihad
Israeli-Arab female lawyer Suhir Ayoub allegedly passed information between Islamic Jihad leadership, prisoners in Israeli jails.
The Jerusalem Post
An Acre-based lawyer was charged on Wednesday with aiding a terrorist organization.
Suhir Ayoub stands accused by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s office of relaying information between a Gaza-based leader of Mahajat El Kuds, a group with close links to Islamic Jihad, and members of the group being held in Israeli jails.
According to the indictment, Ayoub was hired by Mahajat El Kuds operative A’amar A’ashur Abu Hamza to pass on the information. It stated that on two occasions in February and April, she gained access to the prisoners by wrongfully representing herself as their lawyer, and during these visits she took down messages from the prisoners on matters relating to the organization and forwarded them to Abu Hamza in Gaza.
The prosecution requested that Ayoub be placed under arrest until the end of legal proceedings, arguing that she posed a danger to public and national security. She is being charged with violating a section of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations that prohibit the provision of aid to an illegal organization.
Central District police said they had arrested three other lawyers based in the north on similar suspicions of passing information to a terror organization in return for thousands of shekels in legal fees.
In response to the arrests, the terror victims group Almagor called on the Justice Ministry, the Prisons Service and military prosecutors to reconsider their policy on allowing lawyers to visit terrorists in prison.
“The frequent visits by lawyers to convicted terrorists have become a national plague,” said Meir Indor.“These visits have nearly nothing to do with the requirement of legal representation and it has become clear that they are an effective method designed by the terror organizations to enable the relay of messages between organization heads and operatives, many of them having to do with operational orders about terror attacks,”
Attorney Dror Arad-Ayalon, chairman of the Israel Bar Association’s ethics board, said a lawyer’s commitment to a client does not allow him or her to take part in the client’s illegal activities, and that lawyers must be careful not to cross the line between representation and participation.
“There are grey areas as to what constitutes participation in a client’s activities, but the principle is very firm and well established,” said Arad- Ayalon.
He added that in the past there had been lawyers charged with participating in their clients’ activities, for example by transferring drugs or cash to prisoners, but very few convictions.
“The bar association provides widespread protection when it comes to legitimate representation, but strongly condemns lawyers who cross the line and engage in illegal activity,”he said, stressing that there was no difference if the activity was criminal or security related.
Responding to Almagor’s statement, Arad-Ayalon warned against compromising people’s basic rights because of individual cases where lawyers themselves run afoul of the law.
“If we take away rights every time someone wrongfully takes advantage of them, we will be left with a society void of rights,” Arad-Ayalon said.