Arab Israeli lawmaker held for smuggling phones into prison

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2016 9:07 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say an Arab lawmaker in the country's parliament is under arrest amid an investigation into suspicions he smuggled cellphones to Palestinians in prison serving sentences for security offenses.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Basel Ghattas is under arrest until Dec.26 after appearing before a court Friday.

He said Ghattas is suspected of "offenses of conspiracy, fraud and breach of trust" and "smuggling mobile phones and SIM cards" to Palestinians serving sentences for security offenses against Israel.

Ghattas is a member of the Balad faction, a party that has antagonized the vast majority of Israelis with provocative shows of support for the Palestinians and activism for their cause.

In 2007, Balad lawmaker Azmi Bishara fled Israel while facing charges of espionage for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Ghattas denied any wrongdoing.