Israel frees senior Hamas official

Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian Parliament, was held without charge since January.

    Aziz Dweik have been arrested at a checkpoint near Ramallah in January [AFP]
    Aziz Dweik have been arrested at a checkpoint near Ramallah in January [AFP]

    Aziz Dweik, a senior Hamas leader and the speaker of the Palestinian Parliament, has been released by Israel after months of detention without charge.

    "Dr Aziz Dweik was released at the Beit Sira roadblock," in the occupied West Bank, the head of his office, Bahaa Yusef, told AFP on Thursday.

    Israel Prison Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman confirmed: "Mr Dweik has been released from Ofer prison."

    Dweik's lawyer, Fadi Qawasmeh, said Israel had accepted his request not to renew his client's administrative detention for a further six months.

    The Israeli army arrested Dweik on January 19 at a roadblock between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah.

    It said his detention without charge was necessary because of his "presumed involvement in the activities of a terrorist organisation."

    Dweik was appointed speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian parliament elected in 2006 but the legislature has been effectively sidelined since Hamas expelled forces loyal to president Mahmud Abbas from the Gaza Strip
    the following year.

    Administrative detention is a procedure dating back to the pre-1948 British Mandate under which military courts can hold suspects without charge for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed indefinitely.


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.