mk yehiel hazan 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Jerusalem Magistrate's Court sentenced former Likud MK Yehiel Hazan to four months of public service and a two-month suspended jail sentence for having cast two votes during the reading of a government financial bill in the Knesset three years ago.
Hazan registered his own vote and then leaned over the empty chair of his plenum neighbor, MK Inbal Gabrieli, and voted for her, too.
In his sentence, Judge Haim Li-Ran wrote that "even though we are dealing with a one-time error, I fear that it is a resounding error, whose damage to the image of the house of representatives goes much farther than the gravity of the act itself."
Hazan told reporters afterwards that he accepted the court's decision but continued to insist that he was innocent.
Meanwhile, the state prosecution is still considering another allegation against Hazan for allegedly having taken the device which had recorded the double vote without permission from a store room in the Knesset. Justice Ministry spokesman Ya'acov Galanti said the matter was still under investigation and that the state had not yet decided whether to press charges.
Hazan was convicted on April 25 on charges of forging a document with intent to obtain a benefit under aggravated circumstances and fraud and breach of faith.
The incident occurred on the night of May 28, during a long series of votes on amendments to the government's economic recovery plan. There were several other double votes that night, including one by Likud MK Michael Gorlovsky, who is currently facing an indictment on the same charges.
Hazan insisted that he had not cast two votes. A few days later, however, United Torah Judaism MK Ya'acov Litzman informed the Knesset that he had seen Hazan lean over Gabrieli's seat and that immediately afterwards, he had noticed that the electronic scoreboard had registered her vote.
Hazan charged that Litzman was trying to get back at him because the Likud had not given in to United Torah Judaism's budget demands. He also maintained that the electronic system might have been faulty and that Gabrieli's vote could have been registered through an electronic error.
Hazan's lawyer asked the court to give his client a suspended sentence. The state asked for sentence of six months in jail to be commuted to public service. According to the penal code, the maximum sentence for the first violation is five years, and for the second, three years.