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Knesset committee votes to strip Arab MK of parliamentary immunity

MK Basel Ghattas of the Knesset’s Joint List
MK Basel Ghattas of the Knesset’s Joint List

House Committee of the Israeli parliament voted unanimously yesterday to strip parliamentarian immunity of the Arab Member of the Knesset Basel Ghattas over allegations that he smuggled phones to Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails, Arab48.com reported.

The Knesset is due to vote on the decision later today.

In a statement, the Joint List, of which Ghattas is a member, said that it boycotted the House Committee’s vote because “it was inciteful and planned to be a field court with predetermined outcomes.”

Deputy Attorney General Raz Nazari said that the request to strip Ghattas of his immunity is unusual. “For the first time, the attorney general is asking to remove an MK’s immunity while the investigation is still ongoing. There is solid evidence to support the suspicions.”

Nazari said that Ghattas’ actions were documented on video, noting “this documentation is important evidence in the ongoing investigation.”

Israeli news website Ynet News said that the video shows Ghattas’ meeting with the Palestinian prisoners, during which “four envelopes are removed from his coat pocket and one of the prisoner is seen putting them in his pants.”

Then, Ynet continues: “The prisoner was searched and four envelopes with cell phones and SIM cards were found. MK Ghattas refused to be questioned at the scene.”

The meeting of the House Committee was riotous and even an Israeli MK, who opposed the motion, was verbally accused and an argument broke out with several MKs being removed from the meeting room.

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