Israeli journalist faces trial over leaked army documents

Israel’s attorney general has announced his intention to put investigative reporter Uri Blau on trial for receiving hundreds of classified Israeli Defences Forces documents from a former soldier now in jail.

Israel’s justice ministry said in a statement Wednesday that charges would soon be filed against Blau, a journalist for Haaretz newspaper, “for the offence of possession of secret information by an unauthorized person,” according to the Agence France Presse.

Blau drew upon some of the documents whilst researching a 2008 article in which he claimed that Israeli soldiers had been commanded to carry out targeted killings of Palestinian militants, violating an order by the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem, according to The Guardian.

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Ex-soldier Anat Kam is currently in prison after admitting leaking the documents in order to expose Israeli military conduct in the Palestinian Territories, and received a four and a half year jail sentence in October.

The justice ministry’s statement said that Blau had “betrayed his duty” to hand over the files to the authorities immediately, as “the potential damage of possessing the documents… was immense.”

In response, Haaretz said that the attorney general’s decision was “unfortunate and sets a precedent in terms of its ramifications on the freedom of press in Israel, and especially on the ability to cover the security apparatus."