Hamas frees senior Fatah sympathizer

Former director of Gaza's electric company arrested 6 months ago in group's crackdown on rivals.

Hamas takeover 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Hamas takeover 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Hamas government has released the former director of Gaza's electric company six months after arresting him in a crackdown on political rivals in the wake of the Islamic group's takeover of the area, officials announced Tuesday. Suleiman Abu Samhadana was arrested in July, weeks after Hamas routed the rival Fatah movement and seized power. Abu Samhadana, a Fatah sympathizer, was charged with embezzlement. The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry said Abu Samhadana was freed on Monday. It said he paid a $100,000 fine, and turned over a deed to two acres of property as bail. In addition, two relatives promised to pay $200,000 each if he flees Gaza. A court date was not immediately set, and Abu Samhadana declined to speak to reporters after returning home. Abu Samhadana was the first of dozens of senior government officials, judges and prosecutors rounded up by Hamas after the takeover and was also the longest held. Most of the officials were released within days, although they lost their jobs and were replaced by Hamas sympathizers.