Amnesty urges Hamas to stop Gaza executions

Amnesty International has attacked Hamas’ plans to carry out executions in Gaza following the Muslim festival of Eid.

The charity said the threat facing prisoners sentenced to death was “deeply disturbing”.

Hamas’ Attorney General in Gaza announced plans last week to execute a number of what he said were “convicted criminals” as a “lesson” to other Palestinians.

According to Amnesty those at risk include a 27-year-old man detained over the death of a friend in 2009. The man was allegedly tortured by Hamas and forced to “confess” to the rape and murder of a six-year-old boy more than a decade ago.

In March a 23-year-old man was sentenced to death for “collaboration with an enemy entity” by Gaza’s central military court. He told his lawyer he had been beaten during interrogation. Amnesty said he could be executed if an appeal on Wednesday is unsuccessful.

Philip Luther, Amnesty’s International Middle East and North Africa director, said: “This and other recent announcements by Hamas authorities that they will carry out further executions are deeply disturbing.

“We acknowledge the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but the death penalty is cruel and inhuman, and there is no evidence that it deters crime more effectively than other punishments.

“Public executions are degrading and compound the cruelty of the death penalty.”

He urged Hamas to halt executions planned for after Eid al-Fitr and to suspend all death penalties.

Amnesty said Hamas had carried out at least 16 public executions since April 2010, half of which were of people found guilty of collaborating with Israel.

Last updated: 10:31am, August 9 2013