Israel releases elderly Palestinian parliament speaker looking frail after months in prison

Israel releases elderly Palestinian parliament speaker looking frail after months in prison
77-year-old Aziz Dweik appeared frail and emaciated after he was released following eight months in Israeli military detention.
2 min read
14 June, 2024
A photo of Aziz Dweik from 2015. He appeared much more frail after his release from an Israeli prison [Getty]

Israeli authorities have realised Aziz Dweik, the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, with activists raising concerns over his health after photos of him looking emaciated circulated online.

Dweik was arbitrarily detained in October and was released on Thursday in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron at a military checkpoint.

The 77-year-old was originally held in military detention in a prison in the Negev desert for six months, and this was later extended by Israeli authorities.

Images of him online show him looking significantly thinner than how he looked before October, with visible signs of weariness apparent.

One social media user posted photos of Dweik before October and one following his release, adding the caption "this is him before and after captivity, just so you know the criminal, occupying enemy we are fighting".

Another shared the same image adding "our prisoners literally come out of the grave".

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club have accused the Israeli authorities of medical neglect, stating he has not received appropriate treatment while in detention and was not able to have his family visit him.

The group had previously raised alarm over his health, highlighting how he suffered from anaemia and haemoglobin deficiency.

They also said he had undergone two catheterisation operations and fragmentation of kidney stones which affected his health.

The image of a gaunt looking Dweik comes less than a week after photos of Bassem Tamimi, a Palestinian activist, were published showed him looking thin and frail after his release.

"[In person] he looks even scarier than in that picture. He is a frightful sight, marks of beatings all over him, eyes lined with red, so thin his cheeks look like gaping holes at the centre of his face," one social media user noted.

"This man, in a just world, would be given a Nobel peace prize. But Israel tortured him in attempt to break a mobiliser for Palestinian popular resistance. Seeing Bassem Tamimi like this breaks my heart a million times! Speak up against torture of 1000s of Palestinian hostages," another claimed.  

Israel has detained thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, with many held in administrative detention.