Hamas Orders Death Penalty of 3 Palestinians After Murder Conviction

Hamas still controls the Gaza Strip after its conflict with its main rival Fatah in 2006. (Photo: Via Al-Jazeera, file)

Three Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were executed by Hamas authorities after being convicted of murder, after dawn prayers on Tuesday. This, despite an international outcry for the decision to  be revoked.

Muhammad Otham, Yousif Abu Shamla, and Ahmad Sharab, were executed at the police headquarters in Gaza City. In attendance were family members of those who had reportedly been killed by the three convicted murderers.

Two of those convicted were executed as civilians by hanging and the third as a “militant” by firing squad, according to law in the besieged Gaza Strip

The Hamas-run general prosecution said that the death penalty was carried out after all necessary legal procedures had been completed. However, this decision was not ratified by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, as required by Palestinian law.

The Gaza prosecution added in their statement that the death penalty was “meant to deter those who may think of committing such crimes.”

In a statement published by official PA news agency WAFA, PLO Secretary-General, Saeb Erekat, said that Hamas did not “have the rights to carry out executions, and what their militants did is illegal.”

He added that Abbas had not ordered any executions since he came to power, out of fear that doing so would impact the Palestinian Authority’s image on the international scene negatively.

Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said of the seemingly hasty executions: “Palestine is one and Gaza and the West Bank are its two integral parts. I urge Hamas not to carry out these executions and I call on President Abbas to establish a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty.”


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