Israel's Netanyahu begins graft trial with 'head held high'

Jerusalem (AFP) –


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at a Jerusalem courthouse on Sunday saying his head was "held high" as he began a long-delayed corruption trial.

Wearing a suit and blue and white tie and flanked by ministers, Netanyahu addressed reporters before entering the court where he faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Again denying all allegations, he condemned the "ludicrous" charges against him.

"I'm here with a straight back and my head held high," he said.

The rightwinger, the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, has long claimed to be the victim of a witchhunt and again suggested the charges were trumped up to stop him continuing in office.

"When you need to take me down, a strong prime minister from the right, everything is possible," he said.

Netanyahu added a request for the rest of his trial to be broadcast live, unlike the opening session at which the court banned TV cameras.

"I ask for everything to be broadcast live and uncensored so that the public will know," he said.