Israeli PM Netanyahu appears in court over corruption charges

2021-02-08 19:49:44
Israeli PM Netanyahu appears in court over corruption charges

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appeared in court to formally respond to corruption charges against him, as his trial resumes weeks before elections in the occupied territories.

He arrived at the Jerusalem al-Quds district court for a hearing on Monday morning under heavy security and after several delays due to the coronavirus lockdown.

After around 20 minutes, Netanyahu left the courtroom without explanation and his motorcade departed.

Dozens of protesters demanding his resignation gathered near the court house, following weekly demonstrations held in recent months.

Netanyahu, who is the first Israeli prime minister to be indicted while in office, will likely be required to verbally confirm the defense filed by his lawyers.

In 2019, he was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust stemming from three long-running cases.

It is the second time that Netanyahu attends a hearing of his trial in person.

He stands accused of accepting lavish gifts from wealthy friends and offering to grant favors to powerful media moguls in exchange for favorable coverage of him and his family. The latest hearing was postponed last month due to lockdown restrictions on public gatherings.

Israel will hold its fourth parliamentary elections in two years on March 23 amid public anger over Netanyahu’s graft charges and handling of the coronavirus crisis.

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