Hamas Executes a Prisoner Convicted of Murder
Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers on Wednesday hanged a prisoner who had been convicted of murder, its interior ministry said, despite international calls for a halt to executions.
Hamas last carried out the death penalty for a criminal offence in July 2012, normally reserving the sentence for "collaborators," reported AFP.
"At 4:30 pm (1430 GMT) on October 2, the death penalty was carried out against Hani Mohammed Abu Aliyan from Khan Yunis for his crime of killing Hazem Hassan Barham," the ministry said in a statement quoted by the news agency.
Gaza’s appeals court had rejected challenges against the sentence, the ministry said.
Human rights groups have repeatedly urged Hamas to halt executions, including that of Abu Aliyan, which was initially to be carried out after the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday in August.
Amnesty International on Wednesday reiterated its call ahead of the hanging.
"The authorities in Gaza must urgently stop the execution scheduled for today," the London-based watchdog's Middle East director Philip Luther said, according to AFP.
"It is deeply disappointing that the Hamas de facto administration is returning to using the gallows after a brief reprieve in the summer."
Hamas on June 22 hanged two men accused of collaborating with Israel.
Wednesday's hanging was the first time since July 2012 that the Islamist group has implemented capital punishment for murder, when it executed three Gazans.
Under Palestinian Authority law, collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking are all punishable by death.
The latest execution was carried out in front of "concerned parties" and "the elite of Palestinian society," Hamas said, without giving further details.
A second interior ministry statement said Abu Aliyan had committed two murders -- that of Barham and of an unnamed child -- but did not specify if he had been sentenced for the second murder.
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.
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."