TEL AVIV,(Reuters) – A Tel Aviv court sentenced an Israeli woman to three years in jail on Thursday for acting as a human shield to protect a wanted Palestinian militant leader in the West Bank.
In the unusual case, Tali Fahima, was convicted last month in a plea bargain to avoid a life sentence on initial charges of aiding the enemy in wartime and supporting a terrorist group.
Under the deal, Fahima pleaded guilty to charges of contact with a foreign agent, informing the enemy and disobeying an order. The court confirmed a three year sentence on Thursday.
Fahima is expected to be released in another 10 months, since she has been under arrest for more than a year.
Fahima moved to the West Bank city of Jenin at the height of a five-year-old Palestinian uprising and befriended Zakaria al-Zubaidi, leader of the militant al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
Fahima, a frequent guest at Zubaidi”s Jenin house, told reporters she was staying close to the leader to protect him from Israeli assassination.
Fahima was arrested last year and held for three months without trial, a measure Israel usually reserves for Palestinians detained in the West Bank and Gaza, before she was indicted.
Prosecutors said she translated for Palestinian gunmen a secret military document which they obtained that outlined Israeli army plans to detain or kill militants.
"I am sure that she regrets what happened in terms of the consequences but at the time she regarded it as legitimate political activity and this is how she sees it," her lawyer, Smadar Ben-Natan said when Fahima was convicted last month.
Fahima, who said she once supported the right-wing Likud party, has been a critic of Israeli occupation in the West Bank.
Her friends denounced the charges against Fahima as politically motivated. Prosecutor Orly Ben-Ari said they were based on "very serious violations" against Israeli security concerns.