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|Saturday, August 05, 2000, updated at 01:22(GMT+8)|
Former Israeli Minister Appeals for Rehearing of his CaseAryeh Deri, former Israeli Interior Minister and former leader of the ultra-Orthodox religious Shas party, Friday morning submitted to Israel's High Court a request for a rehearing of his case, his lawyer announced.
The appeal was filed because there are reasonable chances to cancel Deri's conviction on charges of accepting bribe, breach of trust and aggravated fraud, or even to overturn his three-year jail sentence, said lawyer Yigal Arnon.
The Deri case deserves a second deliberation before an expanded judge panel, the lawyer argued, as the public ramification of his conviction was unlike any case since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
Israel's High Court rarely accepts requests for new hearing. But if the demand was accepted, the court would organize a panel including at least five justices to rehear the case.
Deri, the country's youngest interior minister in history and a once rising political star, was sentenced to four years in prison in March 1999 on charges of bribery taking, breach of trust and fraud while he served as the interior minister in the 1980s.
Shas later astonished the country by seizing 17 seats in the 120-member parliament in the 1999 general elections, arguing that Deri's conviction was ethnical discrimination against Sephardi Jews, who are Shas' constituents and originate from Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Deri resigned from Shas party leadership soon after the elections, clearing the way for the party to join in the coalition led by Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Since then, the Deri case has been the haunting specter plaguing the relations between Barak and the Shas party.
Last month, the High Court upheld Deri's bribery conviction but reduced his sentence term to three years. Deri was also ordered to begin to serve his prison term on August 13.
Deri will not appeal for a probation of execution of the prison service, said the lawyer.
If the charismatic young politician, who enjoys father-son-like ties with Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, is thrown behind the bars finally, he will be prohibited from running for public office, or acting as ministers, for 10 years after he finishes his prison term.
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