Hamas kills three alleged 'collaborators' in public execution

Hamas kills three alleged 'collaborators' in public execution
2 min read
25 May, 2017
The executions took place in a public square in Gaza City, where hundreds of Palestinians looked on as two men were hanged and a third was killed by firing squad.
The executions took place in a public square in Gaza City. [Getty]
Hamas executed three people in the Gaza Strip on Thursday for allegedly assassinating one of its top military commanders on behalf of Israel.

The executions took place in a public square in Gaza City, where hundreds looked on as Ashraf Abu Leila, 38, and Hisham al-Aloul, 44, were hanged, while Abdallah al-Nashar was killed by firing squad.

Nashar was shot instead of hanged as he was previously an officer of the presidential guard with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas had sent out invitations for the executions, which were also live-streamed on Facebook by local news site Gaza Now with thousands of views.

Mazen Faqha was shot dead by gunmen on March 24, in what appeared to be a planned assassination. He was released from an Israeli jail in 2011 as part of a mass prisoner exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and had been in charge of forming cells within Hamas's military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades.

Hamas immediately pointed the finger at "collaborators" with Israel and took extreme measures to investigate the murder.  
Days after Faqha's killing, Hamas closed the Beit Hanoun, or Erez, border with Israel, only allowing senior political figures to leave the besieged enclave.

The travel ban applied to men aged 15-45, most of whom were travelling to Israel to receive medical treatment. The group later offered "collaborators" with Israel a week to turn themselves in and receive clemency.

A Gaza military court condemned the three men to death for Faqha's killing on Sunday after a four day trial, leading to widespread condemnation from Palestinian and international human rights groups.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said the convictions in a military court were a "violation of the right to a fair trial," with the suspects denied the right to a proper defence.

Human Rights Watch said the "rush" to kill the men "smacks of militia rule, not the rule of law".

"Reliance on confessions, in a system where coercion, torture and deprivation of detainee’s rights are prevalent, and other apparent due process violations further taint the court’s verdicts," the group said.

Under Palestinian law, all death sentences must be ratified by the president, currently Mahmoud Abbas, but since Hamas's takeover of Gaza in 2007 the group has ignored his authority.

In 2014 during the Gaza war, Hamas executed at least 23 Palestinians accused of collaboration. Many were lined up in the street, blindfolded, and executed by Hamas gunmen, in what Amnesty International said could amount to war crimes.