Suspected Israeli Spies Deported
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ Two suspected Israeli spies whose convictions on passport violations strained ties between New Zealand and Israel were released from prison and deported Wednesday after serving two months of their six-month sentences, the government said.
Israeli nationals Uriel Zoshe Kelman, 31, and Eli Cara, 50, were released from Auckland’s Mt. Eden Prison early Wednesday and served with deportation notices, Prime Minister Helen Clark’s spokesman said on condition of anonymity.
The pair flew from Auckland about seven hours later en route to Israel, the spokesman said.
Their convictions are still under appeal.
The pair were ordered to pay $66,000 to the New Zealand Cerebral Palsy Society for using the identity of a cerebral palsy sufferer in their attempt to obtain a New Zealand passport.
The men have each paid $33,000 but the money is being held in trust while their appeal is pending. No date has been set for the appeal.
New Zealand maintains that Cara and Kelman are agents of Israel’s intelligence services, and Clark said she had ``no doubt whatsoever″ the two were spies.
New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel after Cara and Kelman were sentenced in the High Court in Auckland in July. Israel has not acknowledged that the pair are spies.