GAZA: HAMAS APPROVES LAW TO EXECUTE DRUG DEALERS
|Hamas gunmen in the Gaza Strip
November 30, 2009: the Hamas-run government ruling Gaza, Palestine, approved a legal change that will allow for the execution of convicted drug dealers, attorney general Mohammed Abed said.
"The government has approved a decision to cancel the Zionist (Israeli) military law with regard to drugs and enact Egyptian law 19 of 1962," Mohammed Abed, the attorney general, said in a statement.
"The latter law is more comprehensive in terms of crime and criminals and the penalties more advanced, including life sentences and execution."
Egypt administered the Gaza Strip from 1948 until 1967, when Israel seized the territory in the Six-Day War along with the Sinai peninsula, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
"The Zionist law included light punishments that encouraged rather than deterred those who take and trade in drugs, and there is no objective, national or moral justification for continuing to apply it," Abed said.
Israel withdrew its settlers and soldiers from Gaza in the summer of 2005. Two years later, Hamas seized control after a bloody internal struggle with the secular Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
Abbas's remit has since been limited to the West Bank.
Hamas, meanwhile, has cracked down on drugs, saying it has arrested more than 100 alleged drug dealers and users, with dozens of kilogrammes (pounds) of contraband, mostly marijuana, seized.
Abed said the Egyptian law on drugs would remain in effect until a new law could be passed by the Palestinian parliament, which has met only rarely since elections were held in 2006. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 30/11/2009)