In First, Hamas-run Court in Gaza Hands Two Drug Dealers Death Sentences

Both convicts were caught smuggling marijuana, opium and tramadol through tunnels under the border with Egypt, according to a list of their charges.

FILE PHOTO: Hamas militants grab a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel before being executed in Gaza City August 22, 2014.
File photo: Hamas militants grab a Palestinian prisoner before executing him. Reuters

A Hamas-run military court in the Gaza Strip sentenced two drug dealers to death on Sunday, the first such punishment handed down by the Palestinian judiciary in a narcotics case, officials said.

Marijuana and prescription painkillers have been flooding into the coastal enclave, prompting Hamas officials to seek tougher penalties for smuggling drugs.

Both convicted dealers were caught smuggling marijuana, opium and tramadol through tunnels under the border with Egypt, according to a list of their charges.

"Such actions represented a threat to Palestinian national security, with its economic and political dimensions," the court said. It remains unclear whether they will be executed immediately or in the coming months.

One of the dealers was sentenced to death by firing squad, since he is a member of Palestinian security forces, and the other by hanging.