A Saudi court convicted a Jordanian citizen of spying for Israel and sentenced him to nine years in jail and 80 lashes, a pro-government Saudi newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia and Israel are officially enemies, although the U.S.-allied Muslim kingdom has for more than a decade been promoting a plan for Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab lands in exchange for peace with the entire Arab world.
The Arabic-language al-Riyadh newspaper did not identify the Jordanian but said the Riyadh criminal court found him guilty of “writing to the Israeli prime minister and communicating with a Zionist [Israeli] intelligence officer” by email and receiving a financial payment.
The pro-government newspaper said the court also convicted the defendant, who was not identified, of using narcotics and having an illicit relationship with a foreign woman.
“The suspect gave his reply orally, admitting he had communicated with the state of Israel, saying he did not full mental capacities due to the hashish and the pills,” it said.
After he serves his sentence, the Jordanian will be deported back to his homeland, al-Riyadh said.
Saudi Arabia this month refused to take up a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council, citing among other things what it said was the world body’s failure to make Israel find a just solution to its conflict with the Palestinians.