Human Rights Watch: Hamas Must Stop Extrajudicial Execution of Collaborators

25 Palestinians killed since August 21 for collaboration, without proof of a judicial process and in places not authorized for carrying out judicial executions.

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Hamas militants surrounding Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel, before their execution in Gaza City August 22, 2014.
Hamas militants surrounding Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel, before their execution in Gaza City August 22, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Human Rights Watch condemned Hamas for executing alleged collaborators, the international NGO announced Monday.

“Amid all the carnage in Gaza, it’s abhorrent that Hamas officials are adding to it by permitting, if not ordering, the summary execution of Palestinians deemed to be collaborators,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamas authorities need to stop these extrajudicial killings.”

Human Rights Watch called on Hamas authorities to put an immediate end to the practice, tallying 25 executions since August 21, based on news reports.

The organization noted that Hamas officials had not released the names of any of the executed, "ostensibly to protect their families." It pointed out gunmen had carried out executions "in an empty park and in a public square in Gaza City, and near a mosque in Jabalya, not at the Interior Ministry location where local regulations authorize carrying out judicial executions."

While Hamas has not claimed responsibility for the killings, it did state on Al Rai, a Hamas-affiliated website, that “The current circumstances forced us to take such decisions,” according to the Human Rights Watch statement. Furthermore, Hamas has described many of those killed as alleged collaborators, according to news reports.

Hamas continues to exercise de facto authority in Gaza despite withdrawing from its formal role of governing in its reconciliation agreement with the Palestinian Authority, Human Rights Watch observed.

"Hamas’s failure to investigate or prosecute anyone for public executions in the past, including executions for which its armed wing claimed responsibility in 2012, has, at the least, created an enabling environment for such gross abuses," asserted the NGO.

Human Rights Watch also pointed out previous summary executions, including the killing of seven men in a Gaza City street in November 2012, the killing of 32 people in Gaza from December 2008 to January 2009.

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