Aziz Dweik was detained at an Israeli army checkpoint on January 19
Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik gestures as he attends a hearing at Israel's Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah in January 2012. Israel has agreed not to renew its detention order for Dweik and will free the Hamas member on Thursday, his lawyer told AFP. © Ahmad Gharabli - AFP
Aziz Dweik was detained at an Israeli army checkpoint on January 19
AFP
Last updated: July 16, 2012

Israel to free Hamas parliament speaker

Israel has agreed not to renew its detention order for Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik and will free the Hamas member on Thursday, his lawyer told AFP.

Fadi Qawasmi said Israel had agreed to his request that Dweik's six-month administrative detention order not be renewed. "That means that Dweik will be released on Thursday," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Services said she was checking the report.

The army said it had detained him because he was "suspected of being involved in the activities of a terrorist group," although he was never charged.

He was briefly detained in May 2011 at another West Bank checkpoint along with three other parliamentarians of the Islamist movement Hamas but was eventually released.

The Hamas-dominated Palestinian parliament has been paralysed since the Islamist movement took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007, ousting Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Dweik was elected to represent the southern West Bank constituency of Hebron and became speaker in the parliament's first session in February 2006.

According to Dweik's office, 21 members of the 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) are currently in Israeli custody.

On Sunday morning, Israeli forces arrested Hamas deputy Ahmed Abdul Aziz Mubarak. An army spokeswoman gave no reason for his detention.

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