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Ex-Israeli PM Ehud Olmert cancels Swiss trip, fearing arrest

ehud olmert

Olmert, Israeli PM from 2006-2009, pictured here in 2015.

(Keystone / Debbie Hill)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has cancelled a planned visit to Switzerland, citing fears of arrest on charges of war crimes.

Olmert, prime minister of Israel between 2006 and 2009, claimed on Thursday he had information that Swiss authorities wanted to “question and eventually arrest him”.

The charges, the 73-year-old said, related to his role in the “Operation Cast Lead” offensive launched in Gaza in 2008-2009, which claimed over 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives.

The Swiss ministry of foreign affairs deferred questions to the Attorney General’s Office. The latter said it was currently not conducting any criminal proceedings against Olmert.

As for the Federal Office for Justice, it told the Keystone-SDA news agency that it had received no extradition or legal cooperation requests. Even if it had, Keystone pointed out, such requests are kept secret.

It’s not the first time a former Israeli leader has faced questioning or the threat of arrest in Europe. In 2016, British police summoned Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni for questioning about possible war crimes in Gaza.

Keystone-SDA/dos

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SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

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