Hamas executes suspected informants

Islamic group flouts rights groups, kills two men despite appeals.

April 15, 2010 13:04
2 minute read.
Hamas forces in Gaza City.

Hamas forces 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Hamas government on Thursday executed two men accused of collaborating with Israel, signaling a sharp escalation in the Palestinian terror group's method of controlling the Gaza Strip.

It was the first time the death penalty has been carried out in Gaza since Hamas violently seized power in the coastal area in 2007.

The bullet-riddled bodies of the men, convicted by military tribunals in 2008 and 2009, were dumped by armed men at Gaza City's main hospital before dawn on Thursday, a hospital employee said.

The executions drew condemnations from human rights groups and were likely to deepen the isolation of Hamas, already shunned by much of the world. Human rights groups have criticized the Hamas military tribunals, saying they often rely on confessions obtained through torture.

Bill Van Esveld, of New York-based Human Rights Watch, called Thursday's executions a "very severe step backwards" for Hamas.

With Thursday's executions, three more convicted informers remain on death row in Gaza, along with six murderers. In addition, six men have been sentenced to death in absentia, according to the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights.

However, Amnesty International and other human rights organizations accused Hamas gunmen of killing suspected collaborators during the chaos surrounding Israel's Gaza offensive in the winter of 2008-2009.

During the war, 17 people were found dead after fleeing a Gaza prison damaged in an IAF airstrike. Most had been held as suspected collaborators.

Palestinian law allows the death penalty for those convicted of collaborating with Israel and other offenses. Courts in Gaza and in the West Bank — ruled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — have handed down death sentences over the years.

But since taking office in 2005, Abbas has not signed execution orders, a step required by Palestinian law. No officially sanctioned executions have taken place in Gaza in nearly a decade.

Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for Abbas' government in the West Bank, said Hamas made many changes to Gaza's legal system after its violent takeover.

"For us, all its resolutions and activities are illegal and unacceptable, and this is probably the last example of this," Khatib said, adding that carrying out an execution without Abbas' approval deepens the Palestinian rift.

The executions were announced by Ahmed Atallah, the head of Gaza's military court. In a statement on the Interior Ministry Web site, Atallah said the two defendants had provided information to Israel and helped with attacks on Gaza militants for several years.

Atallah said Mohammed Ismail, 36, was convicted of planting devices in the cars of militants, presumably to help track them. Nasser Abu Freh, 33, a former Palestinian police captain before the Hamas takeover, allegedly started receiving money to work with Israel in 1998.

Collaboration with Israel is considered the highest crime in Palestinian society. In a sign of shame, the two men's families did not hold typical mourning ceremonies for them, instead burying them quietly in a brief funeral.

The executions were the first since 2001, when two collaborators were put to death by firing squad in Gaza during the reign of Abbas' predecessor, Yasser Arafat. The then-justice minister said at the time that the executions were meant as a warning to those thinking of betraying the homeland.

Hamas officials have made a similar argument in recent weeks, saying executions would deter spies. Thursday's executions were also seen as a move by Hamas to assert internal control and independence from Abbas.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The Netflix logo is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, California
June 19, 2019
Netflix series draws ire in Jordan


Cookie Settings