GAZA: HAMAS REJECTS RIGHTS GROUP'S APPEAL NOT TO RESUME DEATH PENALTY
|Hamas gunmen in the Gaza Strip
April 7, 2010: Hamas rejected rights group' call for not resuming executions in the Gaza Strip.
Ihab al-Ghussein, spokesman for Hamas' interior ministry, said that the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW)'s recent call on Hamas not to carry out executions was "not objective and far away from professionalism."
On April 6, the HRW urged Hamas not to execute 17 people sentenced to death in 2009 and this year because "most of those facing the death penalty in Gaza are affiliated with the rival Fatah movement or are people whom Hamas military courts have convicted of collaborating with Israel."
Executions were last carried out in Gaza in 2005 when Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian National Authority, was still controlling Gaza before Hamas drove it out in a bloody infighting in 2007.
Though the HRW's statement showed cases in which minimum international standards of fair trials were not met, al-Ghussein said the rights group "depended on media reports and did not obtain information from official sources."
Under Palestinian law, death sentences must gain ratification from the Palestinian president before they can be carried out.
Hamas, which is at odds with President Mahmoud Abbas, announced in May 2009 that it was establishing a committee of legal advisers and officials to ratify death sentences. (Sources: Xinhua, 08/04/2010)