Hamas to Investigate Attack on Rights Activist

The Gaza government on Thursday vowed to find the perpetrators of an attack on a human rights activist who was stabbed in Gaza City.

Mahmoud Abu Rahma was attacked by masked men and stabbed multiple times while walking back from his brother’s house on Friday night, he told Ma’an.

"There were three masked men following me, I ran quickly toward the house but I tripped on the stairs and fell over. They began attacking me, stabbing me in my right thigh, three times above my right knee, my back and left shoulder, and cutting off part of my hand," Abu Rahma told MADA, the Palestinian center for media freedoms.

He had received death threats shortly after authoring an op-ed calling for legal redress for victims of misfiring and other operational mistakes by resistance groups as well as violations by Palestinian governments

The Hamas-led government in Gaza condemned the attack, which it said violated religion, law and customs in a statement Thursday.

The Interior Ministry will investigate the incident and find the perpetrators, the statement said, adding that the government had received a complaint from the Al-Mezan human rights group which employs Abu Rahma.

Abu Rahma received texts and phone calls threatening him shortly after his report appeared on Ma’an.

"They said I am a collaborator and I should wait for my punishment, saying I must revoke what I said or else," he told Ma’an.

Abu Rahma was also assaulted by masked men on Jan. 3 in the building where he lives, but he escaped without injuries.

The stabbing attack was widely condemned by Israeli, Palestinian and international rights groups.

Amnesty International said the attack sent "a chilling message to activists" and called for an independent and impartial investigation into the assault.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms also called for an investigation and said it considered the attack "a flagrant violation of freedom of expression."

Adalah, an Israeli human rights organization which advocates on behalf of the country’s Palestinian minority, condemned the "cowardly attacks."

"We further condemn the campaign to prevent Mahmoud from voicing his opinion and ideas, and from continuing his work in support of the human rights of Palestinians," Adalah said in a statement.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights stressed that freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and its amendments and under international human rights instruments.

Al Mezan echoed the statement: "Such attacks on human rights activists or other writers on opinion grounds represent grave violations of human rights as well as Palestinian law."

(Ma’an News)

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