Israel sentences Palestinian political prisoner

Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Aziz Dweik in Ramallah, April 2006 (Mushir Abdelrahman/ MaanImages)

An Israeli military court sentenced Dr. Aziz Dweik, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Speaker, to three years in prison, two years of suspended imprisonment, and a New Israel Shekel 6,000 (USD 1,500) bail.

Israeli Occupation Forces arrested Dr. Dweik on Saturday 6 August 2006 in the midst of a campaign of arrests that targeted dozens of ministers and elected officials. On 29 June 2006 alone, IOF arrested eight ministers and 21 PLC members. The arrests came in the aftermath of the capturing of an Israeli soldier in an attack on a military post near Gaza on 25 June 2006.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the sentencing of Dr. Dweik by a military court that lacks the minimum standards of fair trial. Dr. Dweik’s arrest and sentence are owed to political reasons, and not criminal.

Al Mezan reiterates its condemnation of the detention of Palestinian lawmakers and government officials, who, according to the Israeli government, were confined in order to be used as “bargaining chips.” These arrests engender Israel’s disregard of the protections provided by international law for civilians under occupation.

Therefore, Al Mezan Center calls on the international community to intervene urgently and effectively to ensure the release of Dr. Dweik and scores of other Palestinian prisoners who are held by Israel contrary to international law. The international community is under an obligation to ensure protection for civilians in accordance with international law and human rights standards.

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