Israel indicts Arab lawmaker for smuggling phones to prison

AP News
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Posted: Jan 05, 2017 6:24 AM
Israel indicts Arab lawmaker for smuggling phones to prison

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's attorney general says he's decided to indict an Arab lawmaker for smuggling cellphones to Palestinians serving prison sentences for security offenses.

Avichai Mendelblit's office said Thursday that he will charge Basel Ghattas with prohibited use of property for terrorist purposes as well as fraud and breach of trust. Ghattas was caught last month smuggling phones to Palestinian prisoners convicted of killing Israelis. Prison officials said they recovered 12 cellphones after his visit. Ghattas denied any wrongdoing.

Ghattas is a member of the Balad faction, a party that has antagonized many 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 spying for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.