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Lawyer contends Egyptian was tricked into confessing

August 18, 1997

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ The lawyer of an Israeli Arab on trial for spying against Egypt argued Sunday that the Egyptian co-defendant was tricked by police into signing a confession.

Fareed el-Deeb, the defense attorney for Israeli Arab Azam Azam, said that if he could prove the Egyptian innocent, then his client would be proved innocent, too.

Azam and Emad Abdel-Hamid Ismail, an Egyptian schoolteacher, were arrested late last year in the alleged spying conspiracy. Both have pleaded innocent.

Two Israeli Arab women, Zahra Yousef Jreis and Mona Ahmed Shawahna, are being tried in absentia.

At Sunday’s hearing, the lawyer said that Ismail had a relationship with Jreis. She had seduced him, el-Deeb said, and Ismail wanted to marry her.

Ismail eventually grew suspicious that the woman was attempting to lure him to spy for Israel and went to Egyptian security officials, said his lawyer.

El-Deeb cited police reports saying that Ismail was told that if he wrote down what happened, he would be freed. Instead, he was detained. The police reports were not made available to reporters.

Prosecutors have charged that the two women are Israeli agents who recruited Ismail to spy on Egypt.

Prosecutors say that Azam, who worked at a textile company near Cairo at the time of his arrest in November, allegedly gave Ismail women’s underwear soaked in invisible ink to be used for writing secret messages to Israel.

The court adjourned the hearing to Monday.

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