A report Sunday in the Australian Brisbane Times Sunday revealed may new details in the case of Ben Zygier, the infamous “Prisoner X” who may or may not have been a Mossad agent when he was arrested, and subsequently committed suicide in an Israeli prison in 2010. According to the report, Zygier threatened to disclose information that he had on certain security issues. He was arrested in order to prevent him from doing so, the report said.
According to the report, Zygier planned to disclose details of Israel’s use of foreign passports for Mossad agents. Reports in the Arab media said that Israeli citizens had used foreign passports, especially Australian passports, to carry out the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a top Hamas terrorist, in Dubai three years ago. Reports said that among the team that eliminated Mabhouh were four people with Australian passports.
In a separate development, Australian officials admitted for the first time Sunday that the government had known the details of Zygier’s imprisonment and death when both occurred. “At no time did the Australian government receive a request for consular services from the family,” said Australian Foreign Minister Robert Carr. “We were informed of his death a day after the event, via intelligence channels.” Carr added that in December 2010, the Australian embassy in Israel assisted in the transfer of Zygier’s body to Australia.
Carr said that Israel would assist Australia in an investigation that was being opened on the affair. “We want to give them an opportunity to present an explanation,” said Carr.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 2 quoted a senior security source Sunday as saying that Zygier had indeed committed suicide in prison – out of shame. “We did not persecute Zygier,” the source said. “He died because he was ashamed. We would have been prepared to make a deal to send him to prison for several years, provided he assisted in cleaning up the mess he left behind.” Zygier apparently preferred death, the source said.