3 blind men accused in computer scam

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The charge sheet lists 168 witnesses who will testify about 42 incidents that occurred since 1996.

A more famed hacker, 20-year-old Ehud "The Analyzer" Tannenbaum, is on trial in Israel for breaking into computer systems but is not accused of committing other crimes as a result of doing so.

The three suspects have been charged with hijacking phone lines to steal phone calls and tampering with telephone lines belonging to individuals and companies in order to extort services from them. Their victims include a brothel, a matchmaking company, telephone company Bezeq International and high-tech firms such as Eurocom Cellular Communications and Digital Computers.

In one incident, they are accused of hijacking two telephone lines that belonged to Army Radio. Along with an alleged accomplice, Abdullah Abu Zeida, they are charged with setting up offices in Gaza and Jaffa to sell long-distance telephone service. All of the calls were routed through the Army Radio lines, and the IDF was charged for tens of thousands of dollars worth of international calls.

Police arrested Abu Zeida and the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court initially agreed to release him on $15,500 bail.

The three other suspects have also been charged with forging documents to show they had paid Abu Zeida's bail.

In another case, the trio allegedly decided to help a brothel that they liked by disrupting the phone service at a competing brothel.

The suspects deny all of the charges, attorney Michael Sfard said.

The decision to keep them in jail will probably be appealed to the Supreme Court, Sfard said, because their alleged crimes were not violent.

"It's a case that's going to take a long time, and there's no reason for them to sit in jail so long," he said.

Meanwhile, the court has severely limited the suspects' access to telephones. They can use a telephone only in the presence of a prison guard, who will dial for them and not let them touch any part of the phone other than the receiver.