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Israel orders suspected French arms trafficker held through trial

A French consulate worker charged with smuggling arms from Gaza to the West Bank will remain in custody throughout his trial, an Israeli court rules Sunday.

Romain Franck, a French citizen, was charged last month along with several Palestinian suspects with belonging to a gun-running network that sold the weapons to arms dealers between November and February.

According to prosecutors, Franck took advantage of reduced security checks for consular vehicles to transport the weapons out of the Palestinian enclave.

Employee of the French consulate in Jerusalem, Romain Franck, who is accused by Israel of running guns from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. (Shin Bet)

Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service said Franck was motivated by money, with the indictment alleging he was paid a total of around $5,500.

At the Beersheba district court on Sunday, Judge Nasir Abu Taha orders that Franck remain in custody for the duration of his trial, after his attorney Abed Abu Amir agrees there was “alleged evidence” against his client, court documents read.

Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Abu Amir says Franck was being kept in custody because he could not meet the conditions for house arrest: two guarantors staying with him around the clock.

“We have one person and he can’t stay with him all the time,” he says. “We hope soon to find another guarantor and we can bail him out.”

AFP

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