JERUSALEM (Oct. 13)
The leader of the Shas party has been formally indicted on charges of receiving bribes, fraud, falsification of corporate documents and violating the public trust.
The indictment against Aryeh Deri, a Knesset member and former interior minister, was handed down Wednesday in Jerusalem’s District Court — a day after the Knesset voted overwhelmingly to lift the Orthodox Shas party leader’s parliamentary immunity so that he could face trial. Deri had sought the removal of his immunity because he said it was the only way he could prove his innocence.
He contends that he has already been convicted in the court of public opinion. He also has said that he is the victim of persecution for his religious beliefs and his Sephardic background.
The indictment lists 203 prosecution witnesses, including former ministers and current Knesset members. It reportedly contains some 60,000 pages of evidence against Deri.
The date of the trial and the number of judges who will hear the case remain to be determined.
Deri and his attorney are expected to ask for a long delay so they can study the prosecution’s evidence.