Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit approved the indictment of MK Basil Ghattas yesterday, on charges of “illegally smuggling phones into a prison, prohibited use of property for terrorist purposes as well as deceit and breach of trust by a public servant and aggravated fraud.”
Ghattas, a Balad party politician who sits in the Knesset as part of the Joint List, is accused by the Israeli authorities of smuggling mobile phones to Palestinian prisoners. He was first interrogated by police two weeks ago, and was arrested last week after his parliamentary immunity was lifted.
Speaking to Haaretz, Attorney Namir Adalbi, representing Ghattas, described “the decision of the attorney general and State Prosecutor’s Office to announce an indictment so quickly” as “an attempt to pressure the court into convening at lunchtime today to extend Ghattas’ house arrest.”
MK Basel Ghattas has been detained & investigated after Israeli occupation authorities accused him of smuggling – https://t.co/TFZYsoEtKI
— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) December 26, 2016
“We agreed to the removal of immunity solely for investigative purposes, but that doesn’t rule out the option that we’ll claim immunity over the indictment,” he added.
The indictment states that Ghattas delivered communications equipment to a Palestinian prisoner “while knowing that it is more than likely the equipment will be used to endanger human lives, cause serious harm to people, undermine state security, or to aid a terror organisation.”
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)