Basel Ghattas officially sentenced to two years in prison
A Be'er Sheva judge officially accepts former MK Basel Ghattas' plea agreement paving the way for Ghattas for begin a two year prison sentence; Judge: 'I don't think we give enough weight to the offense of breach of trust, where someone exploits their immunity. This is a crime which really bothers me.'
In addition to the two year sentence—which Ghattas will being serving on July 2nd—the judge also levied a NIS 120,000 fine against the disgraced former politician.
The hearing began in an unorthodox fashion, with Judge Itay Bresler-Gonen announcing that he would not automatically accept the plea bargain and that both sides would have the opportunity to delve further into their arguments.
Ghattas was given the opportunity to address the court, saying, "At the beginning of negotiations, I did not imagine that I would sign an agreement that would include something having to do with the violation of the terror law. I did it because I wanted to take responsibility.
"I said from the beginning that I did it as a person and not as a representative of the Joint List. I did this for humanitarian and conscientious reasons, not for financial or ideological gain. I dealt with this issue for four years with the Prison Service Commissioner. We asked that each prisoner have a phone, which was not granted, and this was the main complaint of security prisoners."
In pronouncing sentencing, Judge Itay Bresler-Gonen said, "Taking into consideration the type of equipment, the identity of the recipients and the circumstances of their imprisonment, it can be said that these are aggravated circumstances. He took advantage of his position as a Knesset member and the trust the position comes with. That trust is directed at the general public and not only at his voters. There is also potential damage to the public's trust in other Knesset members."
Concluding his remarks, Judge Bresler-Gonen commented, "I don't think we give enough weight to the offense of breach of trust, where someone exploits their immunity. This is a crime which really bothers me."
(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)