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      Balad MK Sa'id Naffaa Can Be Tried as Criminal

      It is appropriate to remove the diplomatic immunity of Knesset Member Said Naffaa and try him as a criminal, a court ruled Wednesday.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 12/26/2012, 4:26 PM

      Said Nafaa
      Said Nafaa
      Knesset Photo

      It is appropriate to remove the diplomatic immunity of Knesset Member Sa'id Naffaa and try him as a criminal, a court ruled Wednesday.

      The decision of the Nazareth District Court came after years of discussion over whether to try the legislator, a member of the Balad (National Democratic Assembly) party.

      The MK is accused of traveling to an enemy state (Syria) and making contact with an enemy agent during what was billed as a “religious visit” by Druze clergy and senior Druze officials.

      The court ruling was based on the contention that the trip by the Druze delegation was not intended to be a “meeting with terrorists in an enemy state.”

      In January 2010, the Knesset House Committee had already voted 9-2 to strip his diplomatic immunity. The vote followed a shouting match in which Naffaa accused the government of racism and exploiting the Druze community.

      At the time, House Committee chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) reminded the MK, “Holding a Knesset seat is not a permit to visit enemy nations and hold meetings with terrorists.”

      Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz later decided to indict Naffaa for his meeting with Talal Naj'l, deputy leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, and with other terrorist, at the Damascus offices of Hamas political bureau leader Khaled Mashaal.

      He also allegedly met with Syrian Vice President Farouk a-Shara and another Syrian government official.

      The Druze lawmaker was indicted because he organized a trip for 280 religious Druze to Syria despite a specific prohibition by the Interior Ministry.

      Naffaa insisted, “I did not hurt the country's security.”