Palestinian Legislative Council slams Israel’s jailing of its speaker

Gaza : The Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on Monday condemned an Israeli court’s verdict to imprison PLC Speaker Aziz Dweik in an Israeli jail for one year.

Dweik is also a leader of the Islamic Movement in the West Bank and was arrested on June 16 last year.

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Ahmed Bahar, a deputy speaker of the PLC and a senior Hamas leader in Gaza, said in an emailed press statement that the Israeli court’s verdict to imprison Dweik “is illegal, unfair and violates the international laws”.

Bahar called on all Arab and international parliaments to condemn the arrest of Dweik and strive hard to free him and all other Palestinian lawmakers imprisoned in Israeli jails as soon as possible, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Hamas block, which holds a majority in the PLC in which Dweik belongs to, called in an emailed press statement for an immediate international move and efforts to get Dweik out from the Israeli prison soon.

“All the verdicts made against the speaker of the parliament and other lawmakers are illegal and the Palestinians are called to be more firm against these measures,” said the statement.

The Israeli court’s verdict had been postponed 13 times over the past year since Dweik was arrested from his house in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on June 16.

Besides Dweik, Israel still kept 12 Palestinian lawmakers, members of the PLC, in its prisons, including nine from Hamas, two PLC members from Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and one from Fatah Party.