Israel court adjourns Hamas lawmakers trial for diplomatic immunity arguments

[JURIST] The Israeli military court trying Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik [official profile, in Arabic; JMCC profile] and 18 Hamas cabinet ministers on charges of membership in a terrorist organization [JURIST report] adjourned Thursday after granting defense lawyers two days to prepare arguments on diplomatic immunity [eDiplomat.com backgrounder]. The defense, which asked for an eight-day extension, contends that the officials should be shielded from prosecution because they were democratically elected by the Palestinians [JURIST report]. Prosecutors counter that the suspects should not receive immunity because they are members of Hamas [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive], which Israel considers a terrorist group.

Dweik was detained early this month [JURIST report] after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) [official website] surrounded his home in the West Bank. About 30 Palestinian lawmakers, including a third of the Palestinian Authority's cabinet, have been captured since the June 25 abduction of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit [Wikipedia backgrounder] in Gaza. Aljazeera has more.



 

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