UNHCR condemns planned executions; Hamas claims capital punishment to be “implemented in Gaza soon”
Hamas announced it intends to execute 13 Gazan residents without approval from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas announced on Wednesday that it intends to carry out the executions in public, Hamas Attorney General Ismail Jaber stating “Capital punishments will be implemented soon in Gaza. I ask that they take place before a large crowd.” Those sentenced are all male and all accused of murder. Hamas official Khalil al-Haya state on “The victims’ families have the right to demand that the punishments be implemented.”
Under Palestinian law, the death penalty can be given for the crimes of murder and drug trafficking. Hamas, however, has also executed collaborators with Israel in the past, the last executions reported in the Gaza Strip carried out following Operation Protective Edge in 2014. A reported 6 were killed by firing squad following the Operation, with a total of 23 extrajudicial killings carried out. They were all accused of collaboration with Israel under crimes of espionage and murder.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 9 death sentences were carried out in the Gaza Strip in 2015 and a reported 10 this year with a total of 170 Palestinians sentenced to death, 30 of them executed, since the creation of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.
The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the announcement, spokesman for the UNHCR Rupert Colville stating “The Gaza authorities’ statements follow the demands of several families for the death penalty to be carried out against individuals accused of killing their relatives. Death sentences may only be carried out in extremely limited circumstances, and pursuant to a trial and appeals that scrupulously follow fair trial standards. We have serious doubts as to whether capital trials in Gaza meet these standards.”