Palestinian parliamentary speaker to be released

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Monday, July 16, 2012

The speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is to be released this week after six months in an Israeli jail without charge, his lawyer said.

Hamas MP Aziz Duwaik's legal representative Fadi Qawasmi announced on Monday that the Israeli public prosecution had decided not to extend the charges against his client, meaning he would be released on Thursday.

A representative from the PLC confirmed the deal but a spokesperson for the Israeli prison service did not wish to comment.

Duwaik was arrested at a Ramallah checkpoint in January and held under so-called administrative detention laws - which allow Israel to detain Palestinians for renewable six months periods without charge.

The system has been condemned by Amnesty International and other human rights groups, with the charity demanding Israel release or charge those held.

Duwaik's detainment provoked outrage in the Palestinian political community, with his office denouncing the order as an "abusive decision without any charge or legal justification."

The Israeli military said at the time he was arrested "on suspicion of involvement in the activities of a terrorist organization," but provided no evidence for the claim.

The Palestinian parliament has been inactive since Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza in 2007, a year after the Islamists won parliamentary elections.

The parties signed a reconciliation agreement in May 2011 but it has yet to be implemented.

According to the Duwaik's office 21 of the PLC's 132 representatives are currently being detained by Israel.

On Sunday morning the Israeli army arrested MP Ahmed Abdel Aziz Mubarak from his home in Al-Bireh.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army confirmed Mubarak's arrest, without giving further details.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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