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PLC speaker still in poor health after two years in Israeli prison

Aug. 6, 2008 4:02 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2008 4:02 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Two years have passed since the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr Aziz Dweik, was seized and imprisoned by Israel along with some 40 other members of parliament.

Since then, Dweik has appeared before Israeli courts 40 times, and his health has deteriorated. He has been hospitalized several times, but his family are barred by Israel from visiting him.

A spokesman for the Israeli army reported in August 2006 to the AFP that Dweik complained of dizziness and chest pains. He was examined by the prison's doctor, then transferred to a hospital for tests. Hamas alleged that Israeli soldiers had assaulted Dweik, resulting in his hospitalization.

Two weeks ago the Israeli prison administration again transferred Dweik to a hospital as a result of his bad health. Dweik underwent surgery to remove gallstones.

On Wednesday Palestinian sources told the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan that the Palestinian leadership is waiting the Israeli forces to make a decision regarding the release of Dweik, as well as Fatah leader Marwan Al-Barghouthi and the eldest Palestinian prisoner, Sa'id Al-'Atabeh.

Hamas and the other factions holding Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit hope that Dweik will be released in an eventual prisoner exchange. Dweik is also on a prisoner list submitted by the Palestinian Authority, which is engaged in a separate track of negotiations with Israel.

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