Shamai K Leibowitz

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Shamai K. Leibowitz was (2004) an Israeli human rights lawyer in Tel Aviv who has defended cases before the High Court. He is also an Orthodox Jew, a former tank gunner in the IDF and part of a group of 1000 soldiers who have refused to serve in the occupied territories due to the immorality of the Occupation.

Shamai K Leibowitz, a lawyer with a history of political activism who worked as an F.B.I. translator from January to August of 2009, was sentenced to 20 months in prison in May 2010 for leaking, to a blogger, Richard Silverstein, classified transcripts of conversations caught on F.B.I. wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

Those overheard by the eavesdroppers included American supporters of Israel and at least one member of Congress. Leibowitz released the documents because of concerns about Israelís aggressive efforts to influence Congress and public opinion, and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran, a move he saw as potentially disastrous.

Leibowitz, 40, the father of 6-year-old twins at the time of sentencing, was born in Israel to a family prominent in academic circles. He practiced law in Israel for several years, his clients including Marwan al-Barghouti. In 2004, he moved to Silver Spring, Md., outside Washington, where he was a leader in his synagogue.

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