Hamas Goes Ahead with Public Executions Despite International Alarm

Hamas operatives about to execute 'collaborators' with Israel in 2014

Despite warnings from the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations, Hamas went ahead with threats to carry out public executions in the Gaza Strip and executed three Palestinians it said had been convicted of murder.

Last week the UN envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, told the Security Council that public executions are against international human rights law and that even the death penalty is limited “to the ‘most serious crimes’ and pursuant to a trial and appeals process that scrupulously follow fair trial standards.”

Mladenov said he had “serious doubts” about whether Gazan trials met fair trial standards.

“I urge Hamas not to carry out these executions and call on (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas to establish a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty,” Mladenov told the Security Council.

Nevertheless, Hamas went ahead with the executions on Tuesday for purposes of “public deterrence” after claiming the three were found guilty in separate cases after trials and appeals processed.

Despite an international ban on public executions, since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, one Palestinian group has documented 67 executions, not including alleged “collaborators” with Israel who are frequently killed, in public, without standing trial. Some 25 alone were killed after the 2014 war with Israel.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, nine death sentences were handed down in Gaza in 2015 and two in the West Bank.

Amnesty International has previously called on Hamas to stop the executions of suspected collaborators, saying that the group “must immediately and totally cease its use of the death penalty.”