An Israeli-Arab member of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) has been indicted on accusations of illegally smuggling phones to Palestinian political prisoners inside Israeli jails.
Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit approved the indictment of Member of the Knesset (MK), Basel Ghattas, on Thursday morning 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, Israel’s daily Haaretz reported.
Ghattas, from the Joint List party, was questioned by Israeli police about two weeks ago and arrested last week after his parliamentary immunity was lifted.
Police are continuing their investigations into the allegations against the MK while he remains under house arrest.
While the Palestinian politician has been banned from participating in Knesset committees by a legislative panel, he remains on the payroll.
On Sunday, the brother of a Palestinian security prisoner was indicted for providing Ghattas with cellphones allegedly smuggled to other security prisoners during a visit to an Israeli jail last month.
Attorney Namir Adalbi, representing Ghattas, told Haaretz that “the decision of the attorney general and State Prosecutor’s Office to announce an indictment so quickly was an attempt to pressure the court into convening at lunchtime on Thursday to extend Ghattas’ house arrest”.
Ghattas’ defence team called Mendelblit’s approval of an indictment illegal and aimed at preventing the MK’s right to a hearing.