Monday 26 June 2017

Gaza's Hamas rulers execute three Palestinians over alleged ties to Israel

Mourners attend the funeral of Mazen Faqha in Gaza City (AP/ Khalil Hamra)
Mourners attend the funeral of Mazen Faqha in Gaza City (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

Three Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel have been executed, the Islamic militant Hamas group said.

Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip, said they were hanged at a police compound on Thursday morning as dozens of Hamas leaders and officials watched.

Hamas has launched a local media campaign against those it suspects of spying for Israel after a militant, Mazen Faqha, was found dead in Gaza last month.

Israel had sentenced him to nine life sentences for directing suicide bombings.

He was freed along with more than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single Israeli soldier in 2011.

Hamas has executed 25 people sentenced under its judicial system since 2007 when it took over Gaza. Hamas also killed 23 people without trials during its 2014 war with Israel.

Rights groups have questioned the fairness of trials under the Hamas system.

"The death penalty is a barbaric practice that has no place in a modern state," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch.

"The abhorrent executions by Hamas authorities of three men in Gaza deemed to be collaborators project weakness, not strength," she said. "Hamas authorities will never achieve true security or stability through firing squads or by the gallows, but rather through respect for international norms and the rule of law."

After Faqha's killing, Hamas set up checkpoints throughout Gaza and barred all residents and foreign aid workers from leaving the coastal strip and going to Israel.

It has since eased some of the restrictions and allowed some Palestinians, mostly those needing medical treatment, relatives of prisoners in Israel and some international aid workers, to cross into Israel.

AP

Press Association

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