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Israeli Spies Released From Prison

August 12, 1999

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Two Israelis jailed in a spy case were set free today after serving only five months of a three-year term.

Deputy Attorney General Nicos Charalambous said their release was approved by President Glafcos Clerides following a recommendation for clemency by the attorney general.

He said the release was approved ``to serve the national interest.″ He did not elaborate.

Israel had been pressuring the Cypriot government to release Udi Hargov, 37, and Igal Damary, 49.

The two men pleaded guilty to a charge of approaching a prohibited military area near Ziyi in southern Cyprus, and were sentenced to three years. They were also sentenced to a concurrent jail term of six months for possessing wireless scanning equipment without a license.

The two pleaded guilty to the lesser charges after the prosecution dropped charges of conspiracy and espionage in an apparent plea bargain deal.

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