RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – An Israeli military court has charged the Palestinian parliament speaker with membership in the Islamic militant group Hamas.
Speaker Abdel Aziz Duaik was arrested by Israel in August 2006. He was one of three dozen Hamas parliament members to be arrested after the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit by Hamas-allied militants in Gaza. Hamas has been outlawed by Israel. The arrest of the Hamas lawmakers was seen as an attempt by Israel to win bargaining chips for the release of Schalit. Negotiations on Schalit’s release are bogged down.
Ten legislators have been convicted of Hamas membership so far, and are serving sentences of up to 42 months. Duaik’s attorney, Osama Assadi, said Tuesday that his client will be sentenced on Dec. 16.