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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 183rd session
(Geneva, 15 October 2008)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Dr. Abdel Aziz Dweik, Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/183/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 182nd session (April 2008),

Referring also to the study of the Israeli non-governmental organization Yesh Din (Volunteers for Human Rights) on the implementation of due process rights in Israeli military courts in the West Bank, entitled “Backyard Proceedings”, as well as to the study of B'tselem - the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories - entitled “Barred from Contact” on violations of the right to visit Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, published in September 2006,

Taking account of the letter from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, dated 8 October 2008, as well as of information provided by one of the sources on 8 October 2008,

Recalling that Dr. Dweik has remained in detention since his arrest during the night of 5 to 6 August 2006 by the Israeli Defence Forces, which came in the context of the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and that he is reportedly being held in deplorable conditions and denied access to the medical care he needs as a diabetic with a gall bladder condition; noting that he is apparently accused of having stood as a candidate on the Change and Reform list and assumed the function of Speaker on behalf of a terrorist organization, namely Hamas; that the hearing of witnesses finished four months ago and that the judge has yet to return the verdict,

Recalling that at the meeting the IPU President and the Secretary General had with the Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs during their visit to Israel in early February 2008, she stated that there was no reason why information on the judicial proceedings in this and other cases of Palestinian Legislative Council members should not be provided and undertook to ensure that such information was provided; noting in this respect that, in his letter of 8 October, the Permanent Representative of Israel stated that the “Palestinian parliamentarians detained in Israel for their connection to terrorist activities continue to enjoy rights stipulated under Israeli law with due respect paid to humanitarian concerns” and noted that “this is in stark contrast to the depraved conditions of detention that the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit endures under the Palestinian authorities. He continues to be denied even the most basic humanitarian assurances, including visits by the ICRC”,

Bearing in mind the prisoner exchange between Israel and the Lebanese group Hezbollah which took place on 16 July 2008, a move which the United Nations Secretary-General welcomed, expressing the hope that it might soon be followed by action for the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit and of Palestinian prisoners,

  1. Thanks the Permanent Representative of Israel for his letter of 8 October 2008; nevertheless regrets that it does not provide the requested information on Dr. Dweik's conditions of detention, his state of health and the judicial proceedings brought against him;

  2. Can only rely, in the absence of any official information, on the details provided by other sources, according to which he does not receive the medical care he requires and is held in harsh conditions, as well as on general reports on the conditions of detention of Palestinian prisoners such as B'tselem's study on the violation of the right to visit Palestinians held in Israeli prisons;

  3. Notes that there is nothing to incline it to change its position that Dr. Dweik's arrest, detention and prosecution are unrelated to any criminal activity on his part - as being elected in a free and fair election cannot be considered a crime, as neither can assuming the role of Speaker in a duly elected parliament; that his detention is therefore arbitrary and violates his fundamental right to freedom and his prosecution is based on considerations alien to the law;

  4. Reiterates its wish to be permittedto pay Dr. Dweik a private visit;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to take steps with a view to ensuring international observation of the remaining hearings in Dr. Dweik's trial;

  6. Earnestly hopes that Dr. Dweik and the other detained Palestinian parliamentarians will be included in any prisoner exchange, which it hopes will take place soon;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 120th Assembly of the IPU (April 2009).
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