Bribery case against Sharon dropped

Israel's attorney-general has decided not to indict Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on bribery charges, Israeli television said on Sunday.

    Sharon still faces two other corruption probes

    Israeli officials were not available for comment on the Channel Ten report that Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz had closed the case due to lack of evidence against Sharon.

    Mazuz is expected to issue his formal decision some time this week.

    Indictment would likely force Sharon from office and derail his strategy of "disengagement" from the Palestinians, which the cabinet approved in principle last week in a vote that enraged his pro-settler partners and triggered a coalition crisis.

    But removal of the indictment threat would give Sharon a boost in scrapping all 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and four of the 120 in the West Bank by the end of 2005.

    The bribery case focuses on payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars that an Israeli land developer was said to have made to Sharon's son Gilad, hired in the late 1990s as an adviser on a never-completed project to build a Greek resort. 

    The developer, David Appel, was indicted in January on charges of trying to bribe Sharon. Israel's chief prosecutor has officially recommended indicting the prime minister as well. 

    Not first time

    The current probe is not the first time Sharon has a run-in with an investigative commission.

    In 1983, an Israeli tribunal investigating the 1982 Lebanon invasion, found him indirectly responsible for the massacre of some 2800 unarmed Palestinian men, women and children in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut.

    Lebanese Christian phalangist militiamen had been allowed into the refugee camps by Israeli forces who were responsible for security in Beirut.

    When news of the mutilated bodies of Palestinians littering the streets reached Tel Aviv, mass demonstrations called for Sharon's ouster.

    The tribunal eventually ordered him removed from his post as defence minister.

    Sharon is currently still facing probes in two other corruption scandals.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.