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Netanyahu Hearing postponed until October

Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, agreed yesterday to delay Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearing until 2 October.

The hearing was originally scheduled for 10 July but the Attorney General agreed to the three month delay after Netanyahu’s lawyers requested a 12 month delay to study the large volume of evidence.

The Attorney General announced in February that the Prime Minister would be indicted, pending a hearing, for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate cases.

Labour MK Stav Shaffir said Mandelblit is: “Proving what we thought — he shouldn’t have dealt with the Netanyahu cases. He is afraid and owes his career to ‘Bibi Erdogan.’”

Shelly Yachimovich, from Labour, said: “It is obvious that the postponement will be exploited for destructive attempts to ensure that the hearing will never be held and that he will evade justice while destroying the foundations of democracy.” Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg said the Prime Minister: “Intends to throw everything he’s got toward abolishing the independence of the courts in order to evade prosecution”.

The Movement for Quality Government, a non-profit organisation in Israel, said it will petition the High Court of Justice to challenge Mandelblit’s delay.

Netanyahu was reportedly about to propose legislation to grant him immunity from prosecution whilst in office. However, Likud MKs expressed their opposition to such a plan, leading Netanyahu to seek immunity through existing legislation that requires a Knesset majority vote. It is also reported that Netanyahu will propose new legislation to limit the judicial review powers of the Supreme Court in order to prevent it overturning a Knesset vote to grant him immunity.

BICOM published a briefing about the Netanyahu investigations and criminal process in February.