Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting, June 17, 2018..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Three Supreme Court judges have denied an appeal filed by lawyers Yuval Yoaz and Shachar Ben Meir requesting that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit publish the transcripts of conversations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes in Case 2000.
Yoaz and Ben Meir claimed that Mandelblit’s decision to prevent the publication of the transcripts, which are part of the investigation material in Case 2000, is unreasonable due to the fact that the police investigation ended in February 2018. The petitioners also claimed that it is in the public interest to publish the transcripts, in light of the serious suspicions of infringement of freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the case.
Mandelblit responded that, while it is true that the police investigation was completed six months ago, in light of the state’s witness agreement with Nir Hefetz
, Case 2000 was remanded to the police for further investigation.
Mandelblit claimed that the suspects in the affair have seen the transcripts, but making them public could be harmful to the law enforcement, without giving further details. Mandelblit stated that the appeal should be rejected, seeing as the prosecutors have no right to intervene in the authorities’ decisions by attempting to publish material from the ongoing investigation.
The Supreme Court sided with Mandelblit and determined that his decision should not be overridden, out of concern for tampering with the investigation. The court stated that no one has a right to preview material of an ongoing investigation, a right reserved only for the defendant and his attorney. The judges wrote that “the factors behind the lawyers appeal – the public’s right to know, freedom of speech and freedom of the press – are important, key issues that this court has insisted on several times.
However, the petitioners did not present any concrete arguments for the publication of the transcripts at the present time, before the investigation is complete.”
In light of the above, the appeal was immediately rejected, without a full trial. If the investigation ends in criminal charges
, the court would accept the necessity of publishing the transcripts, in light of their significance to the public.