GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas authorities in Gaza on Sunday executed five Palestinian men convicted in separate cases of murder and alleged collaboration with Israel.
The Home Office said the executions were aimed at ‘achieving public deterrence and safety’, but rights groups have in the past questioned fair trial standards in military and civilian courts of the Islamic militant group.
Two of the men, both members of the Palestinian security forces, were killed by firing squad, and the other three were hanged at dawn at a security site in Gaza City.
The executions were the first since Hamas executed three Gazans who were put to death in a rushed trial for killing a leader of the group in 2017.
Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 after violent clashes with forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He issued 180 death sentences and carried out 33 of them “without the ratification of the Palestinian president in violation of Palestinian law”, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
The Palestinian Authority, based and exercising limited autonomy in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, signed international treaties banning the death penalty in 2018.
Two of those killed on Sunday, ages 44 and 54, were accused of collaborating with Israel and providing it with information that helped the Israeli military strike targets in Gaza, the ministry said. They had been detained since 2009 and 2015, respectively.
The other three were convicted of murder in separate cases, including a man who allegedly took part in a shooting that killed a man and a teenage girl during a domestic dispute in July.
Hamas and Israel have fought four wars and numerous small engagements since 2007, the most recent in May 2021. Israel, the United States and the European Union consider the group a terrorist organization for its attacks targeting Israeli civilians.
Fares Akram, Associated Press