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Israel's Supreme Court upholds sentence for ex-MK who visited Syria

Israeli soldiers patrol along the Israel-Syria border on March 5, 2014 after Israel's army said it struck two members of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as they tried to plant a bomb near the border
AFP/Jalaa Marey
Said Naffa travelled to the 'enemy country' and contacted a 'foreign agent'

Israel's Supreme Court on Monday confirmed a one-year jail sentence handed down to a Druze former MP for visiting Syria, an "enemy country".

Said Naffa had appealed a September 2014 verdict sentencing him to 18 months for travelling to Syria and making contact with a "foreign agent".

He went in 2007 to Syria, with which Israel is technically still at war, as part of a delegation of 300 Druze religious leaders.


A member of parliament at the time, he met a leader of the PFLP-General Command, an offshoot of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel designates a "terror organization".

After Monday's Supreme Court decision, he will now be jailed for one year from October 6, plus six months suspended.

Public radio said the former parliamentarian with the nationalist Arab Balad party also visited the offices of Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, who was then based in Damascus.

Adalah, an NGO defending the rights of Israeli Arabs, in a statement Monday denounced a conviction it said resulted from "political and not legal considerations".

"The ban on travel to Arab countries is discriminatory and repressive," it said.

Israel has 130,000 Druze citizens out of a population of around eight million. Unlike other Arab citizens of the Jewish state, they are obliged by law to do three years of military service.



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