GAZA: Gaza’s ruling authorities, the Hamas Islamists, executed five Palestinians on Sunday, two of them on grave charges of espionage for Israel, dating back to 2015 and 2009, the Interior Ministry notified.
The executions took place at dawn, by hanging or firing squad, and were among the first to be held on Palestinian soil since 2017. Past cases of capital punishment and public displays of state-sanctioned punishments have drawn criticism from global human rights activists and watch groups.
The ministry did not publish a full statement with the names of the offenders. However, it said that three out of the five were convicted murderers. The other two condemned spies, aged 44 and 54, had supplied sensitive information to Israel that led to the killing of Palestinians, it said.
Hamas authorities released a statement that said, “On Sunday morning, the death sentence was carried out against two condemned over collaboration with the occupation (Israel), and three others in criminal cases.”
It also added that the criminals had been previously given “their full rights to defend themselves”. The office of the Israeli Prime Minister declined to comment on the matter.
“The execution was carried out after the conclusion of all legal procedures. The rulings had been final, with implementation mandatory, after all of the convicted were accorded full rights to defend themselves,” the statement said.
Palestinian and other human rights groups and watchdogs have condemned these public displays of capital punishment and urged Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to end the gruesome practice.
Palestinian law dictates that President Mahmoud Abbas has the final say on whether executions can be carried out. However, he has no bearing on an effective rule in Gaza.
Since Islamist Hamas seized control of Gaza from Abbas in 2007, its courts have sentenced dozens of Palestinians to death, and have executed 27 so far, according to human rights groups.