Said Naffa

Mazuz considering indicting Balad MK for Syria visit

AG may charge Said Naffa with visiting enemy state, contacting a foreign agent, in light of unauthorized visit to Damascus in September 2007. Decision pends hearing; Naffa claims political persecution

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz informed Knesset Member Said Naffa (Balad) that his 2007 visit to Syria may result in a criminal indictment. The decision is pending a hearing.


Naffa was told Sunday that he may face charges of contacting a foreign agent, aiding a visit to an enemy state and visiting an enemy state.


The Balad MK told Ynet that Mazuz's decision was nothing but political persecution: "I helped Druze clergymen exercise their legitimate right to visit the holy places (in Syria). I guess it's still a taboo as far as the government is concerned."


Naffa visited Syria in September of 2007, and according to suspicions met with Talal Naji – deputy secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), as well as with Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal. He is also suspected of illegally aiding 300 people obtain permits to enter Syria.


Naffa denied having met Naji or Mashaal while in Syria, saying that "the accusation is an outright lie. If I wanted to meet them I would have done so in public. The entire visit has been documented and no such meeting took place."


He maintained that the entire case was motivated by political persecution; and sources within his camp said that the State is deliberately "targeting" members of the Druze community.


Mazuz's decision was reportedly made after consultations with State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, the State Prosecutor's Office, the police and other relevant law enforcement officials.


The final decision on whether or not to indict Naffa is pending a judicial hearing, in which the Knesset member would be able to present his case to Mazuz.


Naffa, who is one of the candidates in the Balad Party's primaries, which will be held later this week, said Mazuz's announcement had no bearing on his political plans: "If elected, I'll be a part of the party's Knesset roster. I'll make the decision about the hearing in the next few days," he said.


Meanwhile, the Attorney General's Office announced Sunday that it would be closing the cases against MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) and Balad MKs Wasil Taha and Jamal Zahalka, who were investigated for trips to Lebanon and Syria in 2005 and 2006.


Mazuz noted that unlike Naffa, Tibi, Wasil and Zahalka were investigated only for traveling without a permit, adding that given the time passed, indictments were unwarranted, but nevertheless, their matter would be turned over to the Knesset's Ethics Committee.


Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to this report 


פרסום ראשון: 12.14.08, 20:00
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