| GEO World|
| Israel to free Hamas parliament speaker|
| Updated at: 0743 PST, Thursday, June 18, 2009|
RAMALLAH: The detained Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament is to be released after an Israeli military tribunal refused to keep him behind bars beyond his sentence, his lawyer said Wednesday.
The court at the Ofer military base near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank rejected an application by prosecutors to keep Aziz Dweik behind bars after his three-year sentence ran out, his attorney Fadi Qawasmeh told media.
"The rejection means that he can't be detained for more than 48 hours," Qawasmeh said. "I expect him to be freed within the coming hours."
His actual release may not come before Sunday as Friday marks the start of the Jewish weekend when by convention court orders are not served.
An army spokesman confirmed that the court rejected the appeal and that Dweik will be released when he completes his three-year sentence.
Israeli prison service spokesman Yaron Zamir said that Dweik was to be released "next week" before the end of his full sentence in August due to administrative reasons.