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Palestinian speaker Aziz Dweik released by Israel after eight months

Senior political figure arbitrarily held under administrative detention since October, and was reportedly denied medical treatment
Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, near the occupied West Bank town of Betunia, on 9 June 2015 (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, near the occupied West Bank town of Betunia, on 9 June 2015 (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Israeli authorities have released Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, after he had been arbitrarily detained since October. 

He was dropped off by Israeli security forces to a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency. 

Dweik, 77, was arrested on 17 October and held under military detention for six months, which was later extended by Israeli authorities.

Israel holds detainees under administrative detention on the grounds of a "security threat" without an indictment for a period of six months, which can later be extended.

Dweik was held at a prison in the Negev desert, where the Palestinian Prisoners' Club accused authorities of medical neglect.

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The group said in December that Dweik suffered from anemia and hemoglobin deficiency due to diabetes, and had previously undergone two catheterisation operations and fragmentation of kidney stones.

It added that the political figure did not receive appropriate medical treatment, and that his family were denied the right to visit him and check his health condition. 

Israel has detained thousands of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank since the war on Gaza began on 7 October, many of whom remain in administrative detention. 

Images shared on social media of the released Dweik showed him looking significantly thinner than before his arrest. 

The 77-year-old was elected speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006. The body, which has a majority of Hamas members, has not sat since 2007, and effectively ceased to function after the split between Fatah and Hamas that year.

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