Omri Sharon's suspension delayed

MKs want to use decision as campaign against Kadima closer to election time.

omri sharon 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
omri sharon 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Knesset committee decided on Wednesday morning to postpone a decision to bar MK Omri Sharon from entering the Knesset building until after the sentence is handed down in Sharon's court case in January. MK Sharon was charged with false testimony and false entries into the documents of a corporate body. According to the MK's lawyer, even though Sharon was convicted on serious criminal transgressions, the committee does not have the authority to keep Sharon out of the Knesset until his sentence is given. "I have a lot of complaints against the [expected] punishment, and I would like to first express them before the court, and not [through the media]," Sharon said. He added that he felt he was being persecuted for his political affiliations, Israel Radio reported. The committee members who supported waiting to decide Sharon's fate included Ronnie Bar-On and David Tal (Kadima), Ephraim Sneh and Michael Melchior (Labor), Ahmad Tibi (Hadash), and Inbal Gavrieli, Michael Gorlovsky, and Daniel Ben-Lulu (Likud), Army Radio reported. One of the reasons some of the MKs backed delaying the decision was their hope to make the choice closer to election time and thereby use the sentence to campaign against Kadima, sources estimated. Some Likud members did, however, support suspending Omri's Knesset service until the sentence is given in order to reduce the amount of campaign funding Sharon's father, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, would receive. They also wanted to minimize airtime for campaign ads. MKs Arieh Eldad and Reshef Cheyne initiated the discussion on the topic after they found a clause in the law that allows for MK Sharon's suspension. Kadima chairman Bar-On opposed the meeting, but was forced to convene it based on the Knesset's legal advisor's opinion that the issue was relevant, since Sharon was convicted of violating the Political Parties Law.