They were spying for Israel, declared the Syrian Government, and for that there was only one sentence. At dawn on Monday, January 18th, 1988, the three accused Syrians, Fouad Hassan, 35, Mohammed Badr, 41, and Mustafa Mahfuz, 52, were publicly hanged in the centre of Damascus.

According to a Syrian Government spokesman the trio “sold themselves to the enemy for a handful of dollars.” They were brought to the gallows blindfolded and in white robes, with their offences written on their clothing.