Deri Mulling Options to Run

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Former Shas party chairman Arieh Deri, a leading figure in Israel's ultra-Orthodox community, is mulling his options after the Central Elections Committee chairman refused to rule on his eligibility to run in Jerusalem's mayoral race November 11.

"The issue does not fall within the role of the chairman of the Central Elections Committee and apparently is well beyond his authority," wrote former Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Rivlin, committee chairman.

In 1999, Deri was convicted of bribery, fraud and breach of trust and sentenced to a three-year prison term, of which he served 22 months.

By law, a person convicted of crimes involving "moral turpitude" cannot run for public office until seven years after his release from prison.

In a letter to Rivlin, Deri's attorney, Zvi Agmon, argued that the seven-year time frame didn't apply to Deri since at the time of Deri's conviction, the law required a six rather than seven-year waiting period.

"On the day my client was convicted, it was as if a heavenly voice declared, 'The law bans you from election for six years,'" Agmon wrote.

Deri's best option may be to appeal to Israeli President Shimon Peres for clemency.

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post

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