The air force's former purchasing chief, Brig. Gen. Rami Dotan, threw himself on the mercy of a military court and pleaded guilty to bilking foreign contractors and his own country out of $12 million.

In a plea bargain with military prosecutors Sunday, Dotan accepted responsibility for all 12 charges brought against him in January, including siphoning millions of dollars for himself while buying planes and spare parts for the office."I beg the court for mercy from the bottom of my heart and from my shattered life I express true remorse," Dotan tearfully told a special tribunal convened at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, according to official Army Radio.

"You can strike me freely," he said, addressing the court. "I am a prisoner. I am a subhuman nothing," according to Israeli Army Radio.

The court immediately convicted Dotan on the 12 counts but said the sentence would be passed in 10 days.

Prosecutors had asked that Dotan be sentenced to 13 years in jail, that he pay all the money back he stole and that he be demoted to the rank of private and be discharged.

Besides the charge that he stole $7.5 million in a deal when he was chief procurer for the air force, Dotan also pleaded guilty to carrying out fictitious work for which he billed several millions of dollars.