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Flatto-sharon Suspended from Knesset: Abu-hatzeira Stripped of His Parliamentary Immunity

The Knesset’s House Committee voted 10-4 today to suspend independent MK Samuel Flatto-Sharon who was sentenced to nine months imprisonment by a Jerusalem magistrates court last week for bribing voters in the 1977 elections.

In an unrelated action yesterday, the full Knesset voted 36-23 to strip Religious Affairs Minister Aharon Abu-Hatzeira of his parliamentary immunity so that he may stand trial for alleged criminal offenses during his term as Mayor of Ramle five years ago.

Abu-Hatzeira is now awaiting the verdict in his trial for soliciting and accepting bribes from religious institutions that received funds from his ministry. The trial ended last month but a second waiver of immunity was required for him to face the new charges. The House Committee voted 10-1 last week for the waiver. Committee chairman Moshe Meron said the charges include theft, fraud, breach of trust, conspiracy and misappropriation of funds by Abu-Hatzeira from a charitable institution he headed in 1976-77.

Flatto, the first Knesset member to be suspended, said he is appealing his conviction and called the House Committee’s decision a “contemptible” political vote. He said he intends to run for re-election on June 30 and was sure that “justice will prevail.”