Israeli attorney general approves indictment of Palestinian lawmaker

January 5, 2017 10:30 pm

Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian member of Israel’s Knesset (parliament), arrives at the Rishon Lezion court, near Tel Aviv, on December 23, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Israel’s attorney general has approved an indictment against a Palestinian member of the Knesset (parliament) over allegations that he attempted to give cell phones and SIM cards to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Israel’s ministry of judicial affairs said in a statement on Thursday that Basel Ghattas is to be charged with the use of property for terrorist purposes and breach of public trust.
Ghattas also faces accusations of “conspiracy and fraud” for bringing cell phones and SIM cards to two prisoners.
The 60-year-old parliament member was detained last month and has been under house arrest since December 27, 2016. Ghattas was arrested after he surrendered parliamentary immunity for search and arrest. Israeli police raided and searched his office and home in the course of his arrest.

People demonstrate outside the Magistrate Court as Palestinian lawmaker Basel Ghattas undergoes a hearing, on December 26, 2016 in Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv. (Photo by AFP)

Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli police spokesperson, earlier said the legislator would face a “number of specific restrictions” during his house arrest, and will not be permitted to leave the occupied territories until a final decision is made on the investigation.
More than 6,500 Palestinians are reportedly held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention centers without trial or charge, subject to indefinite renewals.
Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.
Palestinian inmates regularly go on hunger strike in protest against administrative detentions and harsh prison conditions.
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