Arab MK agrees to have parliamentary immunity lifted

Arab member Israel’s Knesset voluntary surrenders parliamentary immunity so that he might be investigated by police

Arab MK agrees to have parliamentary immunity lifted

World Bulletin / News Desk

Basel Ghattas, an Arab member of the Knesset (Israel's parliament) agreed to surrender his parliamentary immunity on Thursday so that he might be investigated over allegations that he smuggled cell phones to jailed Hamas members. 

"I have sent a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein in which I informed him that, based on a Knesset committee request, I had agreed to relinquish my parliamentary immunity," Ghattas said in a statement. 

On Wednesday, 15 members of a Knesset committee voted in favor of removing Ghattas’ parliamentary immunity so that he might be questioned by police. 

"This decision stems from my intention to submit to an investigation," he said. 

"I agreed to give up my immunity after finding that the attorney-general’s request was partial and limited to the case," he added. 

Ghattas stressed that the move to lift his immunity was "unprecedented", saying it had never been applied to any other sitting Knesset members. 

"Such a decision was never applied to MPs who were suspected -- and later convicted of -- rape, harassment, embezzlement and bribery," he said. 

"I will face these allegations until the end. I did not commit any security breach," he asserted. 

Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, for his part, confirmed that he had received a letter from Ghattas in which the latter agreed to surrender his immunity. 

Edelstein is now expected to announce the lifting of Ghattas’s parliamentary immunity in the assembly at 4:30 p.m. local time. 

Israeli police on Tuesday questioned Ghattas regarding allegations that he had smuggled cell phones to Palestinian prisoners held in Israel’s Ktzi'ot Prison. 

Police also slapped Ghattas with a travel ban until investigations are concluded. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Aralık 2016, 16:29