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MK Basel Ghattas

Israel Police will summon Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas for an interrogation on suspicion of security violations, based on information received by the special investigations unit Lahav 433, from the Prisons Authority, Haaretz reported Sunday evening. Apparently, MK Ghattas maintained ties with one or more security prisoners, which raised suspicions that he, too, was involved in state security violations.

According to the current report, there is no connection between this and the recent investigation into the Arab Balad party. However, investigators plan to check a possible connection between monies transferred to security prisoners by Balad and the lawmaker’s talks with security prisoners.

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The Balad party on Sunday morning revealed that party politburo member Nibin Abu Rahmoun has also been interrogated by police.

Ghattas announced he would negotiate a time for his police interrogation, calling the police behavior “vengeful” and declaring he wasn’t afraid of such moved in the past and won’t be in the future.

The Ghattas interrogation follows the interrogation of his two colleague MKs in the Balad segment of the Joint Arab List, Jamal Zahalka and Hanin Zoabi. The interrogations of this highest echelon of Arab politicians come in the wake of sweeping arrests of Balad rank and file members, including former Balad Gen. Sec. and current President Awad Abdel Fattah and senior civil servants and attorneys.

The widespread investigation began a few months ago and deals with financial irregularities and suspicion of money laundering and document forgery during two campaigns in 2013 – one for the Knesset, the other for local municipalities.

Former Balad MK Azmi Bishara in April 2007 resigned from the Knesset through the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, following Israeli police investigation into his foreign contacts, and accusations of allegedly aiding the enemy in wartime, passing information to the enemy and having contacts with a foreign agent, as well as laundering money received from foreign sources. Bishara denied the allegations, and said he was staying abroad because he believes he wouldn’t receive a fair trial.

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