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Hamas sentences six Gazans to death for ‘spying for Israel’

Military court run by Palestinian terror group says other ‘informants’ have been given life in prison or hard labor; 130 people have been sentenced to death in Strip since 2007

Nasser Suleiman, head of Hamas's military court in Gaza speaks to the press in Gaza City on May 21, 2017. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Nasser Suleiman, head of Hamas's military court in Gaza speaks to the press in Gaza City on May 21, 2017. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

The Islamist terror group that rules the Gaza Strip announced Thursday that it had sentenced six Palestinian “informants” to death for “spying for Israel.”

The Hamas military court said it had issued sentences “against a number of informants, including six death sentences [and] other sentences varying between life terms and temporary hard labor, and one acquittal.”

Hamas takes a rigid approach toward alleged collaborators with Israel. The Jewish state, along with Egypt, has put the enclave under blockade since the terror group took power in a bloody coup in 2007. Israeli says the blockade is a necessary measure to limit the ability of Gaza’s terror groups to arm themselves.

In 2018 a Hamas military court sentenced six people to death for espionage, including a woman.

The year before, three convicted in the assassination of a Hamas commander were hanged or shot by a firing squad in public.

Hamas vowed Thursday that collaborators who turn themselves in will face more lenient terms, and said that the “judgments issued have fulfilled all legal procedures. All those convicted were given every legal protection.”

Illustrative: A gallows is prepared for an execution in Gaza, 2013 (AP/Gaza Interior Ministry)

Palestinian law requires approval from the Palestinian Authority president for the death penalty, but Hamas in Gaza has carried executions without permission from Mahmoud Abbas.

The international community has repeatedly criticized Hamas’s use of the death penalty.

Based on figures from the B’Tselem rights group and including the fresh cases, some 13 death sentences have been issued this year. At least one of the defendants was tried in absentia.

Hamas has sentenced over 130 people to death since 2007; in practice, it has executed 25 people, according to B’Tselem.

Rights groups in Gaza have also urged Hamas to reduce its use of the death penalty. Earlier this month the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights called for a moratorium on the practice, saying it was “gravely concerned about the incessant issuance of death sentences by the military judiciary” in the enclave.

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