Human rights group Amnesty International urged Hamas not to carry out planned
executions after the Muslim festival of Id al-Fitr.
The article, posted
on Thursday, followed statements made last week by Hamas’s Attorney-General
Ismail Jaber saying that Hamas planned to execute certain criminals as a public
“This and other recent announcements by Hamas authorities that
they will carry out further executions are deeply disturbing,” said Philip
Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty
“We acknowledge the right and responsibility of
governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offenses, but the
death penalty is cruel and inhuman, and there is no evidence that it deters
criminals more effectively than other punishments,” Luther
According to Amnesty International, several of the “criminals”
slated for execution confessed to their crimes under extreme duress.
suggests a possible breakdown in Hamas’s judicial system.
“Hamas should pursue justice by prosecuting people accused of internationally
recognizable crimes in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty and
ensuring all allegations of torture are investigated.”
or not the crimes were indeed committed, Luther slammed the concept of public
executions, calling them “degrading” and adding that they “compound the cruelty
of the death penalty.”
The planned executions would not be the first time
Hamas has carried out death sentences publicly. In June, two unidentified men
were hanged publicly after being accused of spying for Israel.
Palestinians have been executed in Gaza for spying since Hamas seized the
territory in 2007.
Luther added that Amnesty International was asking
Hamas to place a “moratorium on the use of the death penalty and commuting all
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.
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