Katsav lawyers dispute suspension

Claim Knesset c'tee did not have power to extend suspension until end of term.

April 26, 2007 15:44
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Suspended President Moshe Katsav's lawyers claimed on Thursday that the Knesset House Committee's decision to extend his suspension until the end of his term was illegal. In a letter to committee Chairwoman Ruhama Avraham, the defense wrote that such a decision was beyond the power of the committee. Katsav's attorneys also claimed that the committee had been influenced by comments from Knesset legal adviser Nurit Elstein implying that there was no chance that an indictment against the president for alleged sexual crimes would be nullified following a hearing. Katsav had initially requested that his suspension be extended "until further notice." However, the committee decided earlier this week to extend Katsav's three-month suspension - which was originally approved in January - until the end of his term as president. Avraham rejected Katsav's claim that the decision was illegal, saying that the Knesset was a sovereign body and that the legal adviser's stance determined the committee's position, Israel Radio reported. She added that the president could end his suspension with a unilateral announcement. According to Army Radio, Elstein replied that her comments had been taken out of context.

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