AFP
Last updated: 31 October, 2011

Israeli who sold chemical weapons to Iran freed from jail

An Israeli businessman who has spent more than 14 years behind bars for selling chemical weapons to Iran, qualified for early release from jail on Monday, a spokeswoman for the prison service said.

Nahum Manbar was sentenced to 16 years in July 1998 for selling materials to make nerve and mustard gas to Iran but insisted he acted with the approval of the Israeli authorities. He had been arrested in March the previous year.

“A judge decided to release him on Monday, but he will be subjected to a series of restrictions,” Sivan Weizman told AFP.

Manbar will not be permitted to leave Israel, to talk to foreigners, to speak to the press or to engage in any weapons-related trade, she said. It was the third time he had requested early release.

During the trial, the court said Manbar had earned $16 million between 1991 and 1994 by selling technology and materials to Iran with the “clear knowledge” that it could be used to make chemical weapons.

Manbar fled Israel in 1980 following allegations of fraud, then moved to France in 1985. He was arrested during a visit to Israel in March 1997 and put on trial.