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March 17, 2017 11:10 am

Arab Knesset Member Reaches Plea Deal to Serve 2 Years in Jail for Security Offenses

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Arab Member of Knesset Basel Ghattas. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Israeli-Arab Knesset Member Basel Ghattas will plead guilty and serve two years in prison after being charged with smuggling cellphones and other materials to Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails.

As part of a deal signed with the Israeli State Attorney’s Office Thursday, Ghattas is required to immediately resign from his Knesset seat.

The original indictment against Ghattas included charges of providing the means to carry out acts of terror, violating Israel Prison Service directives, fraud and breach of trust. The indictment now excludes the original charge of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.

The state plans to ask the court to attribute moral turpitude to Ghattas’s offenses, a conviction which, under Israeli law, bars the individual in question from serving in public office for seven years.

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The Movement for Quality Government in Israel urged State Attorney Shai Nitzan to turn down the plea bargain, saying a deal “does not serve public interest…legal proceedings in cases involving elected officials must be exhausted in a court of law.”

Similarly, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan took to social media to criticize the deal.

“I have trouble understanding why the State Attorney’s Office would suffice with two years in prison for Ghattas for aiding terrorism, when they have such solid evidence. I hope the court will opt for a far graver sentence,” Erdan tweeted in Hebrew.

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