Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council being released after three years in Israeli prison

17.06.09 - 17:44

PNN / Ramallah – Upon winning the Legislative Council elections three years ago tens of Palestinian officials were imprisoned.

Ninety-nine members of local councils and parliament were held, most for having run and won on the Change and Reform ticket affiliated with the Hamas party.

Dr. Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Legislative Council, is one of the last people held from that period.

He may be returning home soon. Wednesday the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the prosecution's request for the continued imprisonment of the official.

Today his 36 month sentence was up but the prosecution was looking for six more. An Israeli court ruled to imprison the speaker of Palestinian parliament along with a number of deputies and ministers from the Change and Reform bloc of the Hamas movement.

The prosecution failed to convince a judge to “keep Hamas in prison” as the prosecution demanded. The Israeli state was questioned by Palestinian political parties and supporters on several occasions as being the "only country that got away with imprisoning the elected government of another."

Chances are that with the current state of affairs between Ramallah and Gaza the position that Dr. Dweik was never able to assume will remain out of reach.


Israel to release Palestinian parliament speaker
Date: 17 / 06 / 2009 Time: 15:57

Dweik, left at a military hearing
in 2006 [Ma'anImages]
Hebron – Ma’an – An Israeli military court decided on Wednesday to release Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik after holding him prisoner for more than 36 months, his family said.

Dwiek’s wife, Umm Hisham, told Ma’an she was “surprised” at the decision by the court in the settlement of Ofer. She said she hopes all Palestinian prisoners are released.

The panel of judges rejected the prosecution’s request to extend Dweik’s sentence from 36 months to 42. Dweik has also been ordered to pay a 5,000 ($1,263) shekel fine.

Palestinian lawmaker Samira Al-Halayka also called for the release of all detainees especially, members of parliament, considering Dweik’s release as a good step for his home town of Hebron, in the West Bank.

Reactions to the release were surprised but positive; with Gaza’s independent representative Dr Yasser Al-Wadiyah commenting that the release would have a “positive influence on the upcoming Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo.”

Al-Wadiyah said in a statement following the announcement of Dweik’s release that it “comes at a time when Palestinians are preparing for their reconciliation is a good and positive step.”

The independent also sent his hopes that Israel would release the hundreds of other political figures detained, including Marwan Al-Barghouthi, Ahmad Sa’dat, Bassam As-Sa’dy and “many others.”

Israeli troops seized Dweik and 43 other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), most of them members of Hamas’ Change and Reform bloc, beginning in 2006. Israel detained the lawmakers originally in an attempt to pressure Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza.

Dweik is a professor at An-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus. He holds a PhD in Regional and Architecture Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

Hamas won the PLC election in January 2006.