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Elham AbolFateh

Middle East

AG bans law enforcement reps from Knesset meeting on PM probes

Thursday 12/July/2018 - 06:01 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Thursday that representatives from Israel’s law enforcement bodies would be excluded from discussions in the Knesset’s Interior Affairs Committee about a claim made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara’s lawyers earlier this week، contending that the officer who presided over a string of corruption investigations against them was motivated by revenge، as Ynet said.
Mandelblit barred the State Attorney's Office، the Israel Police and the Police Investigation Unit from attending the talks، arguing that it could have a negative impact on the investigations.
Mandelblit asked the Knesset’s legal adviser Eyal Yinon Wednesday to cancel Thursday’s Knesset committee session set to deal with the sexual abuse complaints against former Lahav 433 commander Dep. Comm. Roni Ritman and its effect on the corruption investigation of the Netanyahu couple.
Mandelblit determined that the meeting، if held in the midst of the probes، could “harm the investigation in a way that could be interpreted as an attempt to subvert justice."
The meeting was scheduled after attorneys for Netanyahu asked the attorney general on Tuesday to reconsider the credibility of investigations conducted against them during the tenure of Ritman as Lahav 433 commander، arguing that they may have been motivated by a personal vendetta against the family.
The letter، sent by attorneys Yaakov Weinroth and Yossi Cohen، states that "today it is clear that Dep. Commissioner Roni Ritman، who headed the investigations of Israeli prime minister and his wife، was prejudiced because he believed that the Netanyahu family initiated the sexual harassment complaint filed against him by a subordinate.”
“I submitted a letter yesterday to the Knesset’s legal advisor and asked him to approach committee chairman Yoav Kisch to cancel it،” Mandelblit said. “Regrettably، the discussions were not canceled and they are scheduled to take place.
“After I gave serious consideration to the issue، and despite the fact that this is a move that is not in accordance with the methods of our usual work، I hereby inform you that in the circumstances described، representatives of authorities from the law enforcement bodies will not attend the discussion،” he wrote in a letter that was sent to Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein.
“I am fully aware of the significance of this decision، which is entirely contrary to the accepted and regular conduct by the legal advisory bodies to the government and by law enforcement in labour relations with the Knesset. I reached a conclusion after tireless efforts that were undertaken، that there is no choice but to take action،” the letter explained.

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