Palestinian human rights organizations and the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday condemned the execution of three Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas government announced that the three men were executed by hanging early Tuesday after being convicted of murder.
Since the beginning of the year, Hamas has executed six Palestinians. Altogether, Hamas has executed 14 since it seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Most of the Palestinians who were executed were found guilty of murder and collaboration with Israel.
Attorney-General Muhammad Abed defended the executions as legal, noting that the convicts were given the right to appeal against the death sentences. He also pointed out that the Hamas government had recently approved the execution of the three men, whose names were not released.
One of the executed men was found guilty of murdering a female relative, a second was convicted of murdering his cousin, while a third had confessed to killing a man after stealing his mobile phone. The three crimes, according to Abed, took place in 2004, 2009 and 2010.
In April, Hamas authorities executed another three men who were found guilty of murder.
The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said that the Tuesday executions were carried out after the families of the victims refused a last-minute appeal to forgive the convicts – a move that would have spared their lives.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned the executions as illegal and unconstitutional. The center said that only the PA president was authorized, in accordance with Palestinian laws, to approve executions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
PA Minister for Wakf Affairs Mahmoud Habbash denounced the executions as “organized extra-judicial killings.” Habbash said that the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip was a repressive and illegitimate regime.
Hamas, he charged, came to power after committing a crime against the legitimate authority – a reference to the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip five years ago.