(photo credit: AP [file])
A military court on Tuesday charged the Palestinian parliament speaker of Hamas with membership in an illegal organization.
The speaker, Abdel Aziz Duaik, was brought before the court in a brown prisoners' uniform. His feet were shackled and he was clean-shaven.
Duaik said he does not recognize the court's authority. "It is a political trial, and I don't recognize it," Duaik said. "I am an elected official."
The prosecutor said that at one point, Duaik called Hamas' supreme leader, Khaled Mashaal, and asked for large sums of money. However, that allegation was not part of the indictment.
In all, Israel has arrested 30 Hamas lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer, in recent weeks. Duaik said Shaer became his cellmate Monday.
Duaik's lawyers complained that he was being held in unsanitary conditions and that his cell was full of cockroaches. Duaik was arrested earlier this month. At one point, he was taken to a Jerusalem hospital after complaining of chest pains. His lawyers said he also has a kidney problem.
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