Arab Israeli lawmaker to have immunity stripped amid probe

AP News
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Posted: Dec 22, 2016 7:47 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Arab lawmaker in Israel's Knesset has agreed to have his parliamentary immunity stripped amid an investigation into suspicions he smuggled cellphones to Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli police are investigating allegations that Basel Ghattas smuggled phones to Palestinian prisoners convicted of killing Israelis. Prison officials said they recovered 12 cellphones after a recent visit of his.

In a letter addressed to the speaker of parliament Thursday, Ghattas said he agreed to have his immunity stripped, paving the way for any charges or prosecution. A committee was set to vote to strip him of immunity later Thursday.

Ghattas is a member of the Balad faction, a Palestinian nationalist party that frequently clashes with the Israeli government.

He has denied any wrongdoing.