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Israel military court charges Palestinian parliament speaker

[JURIST] An Israeli military court on Tuesday charged Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik [official profile in Arabic; JMCC profile] with membership and activity in a terrorist organization, over Dweik's complaints that the Israel Defense Forces [official website] court has no jurisdiction over elected Palestinian officials. Dweik's next court hearing is scheduled for August 31, again at the Ofer military base in the West Bank. Dweik was arrested [JURIST report] at his home in Ramallah on August 5 for being a senior leader of Hamas [CFR backgrounder], which Israel contends is a terrorist organization. He was hospitalized [JURIST report] last week for chest pains and breathing problems, which he alleges were brought on by abuse at the hands of his Israeli captors, allegations echoed by two now-released Hamas officials [JURIST report] and denied by Israel.

Israel seized seven Palestinian government ministers and some 20 legislators [JURIST report] on June 29 following the abduction of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Israeli officials said in June that the captured Palestinian lawmakers would be tried under standard criminal warrants [JURIST report] for membership in or leadership of a terrorist organization. Arrests of several high-ranking Palestinian officials continued over the weekend with detentions of Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer [JURIST report] and Mahmoud al-Ramahi [JURIST report], secretary-general of the Palestinian Legislative Council [official website]. BBC News has more. AP has additional coverage.

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