Hamas condemns collaborator to death

Group to seek Abbas's approval for punishment; says will look to "alternatives" if he rejects verdict.

Hamas heads 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas heads 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Five days after a Palestinian Authority court in Jenin sentenced two Palestinians to death for collaboration with Israel, a Hamas court on Sunday sentenced another Palestinian to death for the same offense. Iyad Hamed Sukkar, 35, of Gaza City, was sentenced to death by a "military" court controlled by the Hamas government. He was found guilty of tipping off Israeli security forces on the whereabouts of Palestinians who were later killed by the IDF. The judges wrote in the verdict that Sukkar had been recruited as a spy five years ago. The court was told that Sukkar's actions resulted in the killing of at least two Palestinians: Muhammad al-Wadiyeh and Munir Sukkar. The two were members of Hamas's armed wing, Izzadin al-Kassam. This was the first time a court had sentenced a Palestinian to death since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Death sentences must be approved by the president of the PA. However, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, unlike his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, has thus far refused to endorse any death sentences. Ihab al-Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, said his government would act in line with the law and seek Abbas's approval for the death sentence against Sukkar. "Despite the political differences [between Hamas and Fatah], we will seek the president's approval," Ghissin said. "But if Abbas refuses to approve the court's verdict for political reasons, we will seek other alternatives. We can't afford a situation where court rulings are ignored, as was the case when Abbas's men were in control of the Gaza Strip." The two men sentenced to death last week were identified as Wael Saed, 27, and Muhammad Saed, 22. They are from the town of Yatta near Hebron. The latter was sentenced in absentia after the court was told that he had fled to Israel. The three-judge court ruled that the two men would be executed by a firing squad for passing on information to Israeli security forces. In April a PA security court in Hebron sentenced Imad Saad, an officer in Abbas's National Security Force, to death by firing squad after convicting him of having provided Israel with information that led to the killing of four Palestinians involved in terrorism. At least 65 Palestinians have been sentenced to death by PA courts since 1995. Most of them were accused of collaboration with Israel. However, only 13 have been executed by hanging or firing squad. Many others were killed while they were in detention, hospital, on their way to court or even while they were in court.