Gaza Court Sentences Palestinian to Death for Aiding Israel

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A Palestinian security court Thursday sentenced a 22-year-old university student to death by firing squad for giving Israel information that led to a July air raid which killed top Hamas militant and 13 others.

Akram al-Zatma was detained in August and is the third Palestinian to be sentenced to death for collaboration by the Gaza court in the past seven days.

Zatma was charged with collaborating with a foreign country and causing the deaths of the 16 Palestinians, one a leader of the militant group Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for suicide attacks that have killed scores of Israelis.

The Hamas leader was killed along with 13 civilians, including nine children, when the IAF dropped a one-ton bomb on his Gaza neighborhood in July.

"In the name of God, in the name of the Palestinian people, the court sentenced the defendant to death," chief military judge Brigadier General Abdel Aziz Wadi said in court.

There is no right of appeal, but Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat must ratify all death sentences before they are carried out.

Since the Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994, dozens of suspected collaborators have been sentenced to death, but Arafat has commuted some of the sentences to life.

Only three executions, two of them for collaboration and one for the rape of a child, have been carried out.



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