Amnesty Warns: Hamas Planning to Execute Two Men
Hamas plans to publicly execute two prisoners in Gaza this week as a "lesson" to others, according to Amnesty International.
The organization has described the move as "deeply disturbing," reported the British Guardian.
The human rights organization said a 23-year-old man had been sentenced to death for "collaboration with an enemy entity," He told his lawyer he had been beaten during interrogation, Amnesty said.
An appeal at a military court is scheduled for Wednesday but he will be at risk of imminent execution if it is unsuccessful, reported the Guardian.
The second man, 27, confessed to the rape and murder of a six-year-old boy in 2000. He was sentenced to death despite being a minor at the time. Amnesty said he was "apparently tortured to 'confess'" to the crime.
The pair are among 40 prisoners on death row in Gaza. The most recent executions, of two men convicted of collaborating, took place in June at a police compound.
One of them reportedly confessed after being tortured, Amnesty said, adding, "Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees in the custody of Hamas security agencies are widespread and systematic."
Philip Luther, the organization’s Middle East and north Africa director, called on Hamas to immediately halt imminent executions and commute all death sentences.
"This and other recent announcements by the Hamas authorities that they will carry out further executions are deeply disturbing," he said, according to the Guardian.
"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 added.
Most of the executions carried out by Hamas are over “collaborations” with Israel. In March, Hamas said it had a list of collaborators but offered a one-month amnesty for informers to give themselves up in return for leniency.
Under Palestinian Authority law, collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking are all punishable by death. All execution orders must be approved by the PA chairman before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognizes the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas, whose four-year term ended in 2009.
The EU mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah recently condemned the executions in Gaza, saying it was firmly opposed to capital punishment and its abolition "contributes to human dignity and the progressive development of human rights."