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The New Arab

Hamas rejects Amnesty’s accusations of extrajudicial killings

Hamas says Amnesty's accusations are 'political' [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 May, 2015

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The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas on Wednesday rejected the charges by rights group Amnesty International that it carried out 'spine-chilling' extrajudicial killings against opponents in Gaza.

The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas denied on Wednesday that it was involved in anyway in killing Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel during the latest Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip last summer.

In a report released Wednesday, Amnesty International said that Hamas forces in Gaza committed serious human rights abuses, including abductions, torture and summary and extrajudicial executions with impunity during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict.

The London based rights group said that to date, no one has been held to account for committing these unlawful killings and other abuses, either by the Hamas de facto administration that continues to control Gaza and its security and judicial institutions, or by the Palestinian “national consensus” government that has had nominal authority over Gaza since June 2014.

Amnesty accused Hamas of exploiting the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip to “ruthlessly settle scores” with its Palestinian “perceived political opponents.” 

Salah al-Bardawil, a senior figure in Hamas, told Al-Araby Aljadeed rejected these charges and described the report as ‘politically motivated’, because it had identified Hamas as responsible for the killings and the victims as being affiliated with its rival, the Fatah movement.  

The Hamas leader noted that some of those killed were in custody on charges of collaboration at the start of Israeli attack on Gaza and that the Israel targeted all the security infrastructure in Gaza, prisons included, enabling some of the detainees to the escape from custody.  

Al-Bardawil said that it was this that allowed relatives  of some of  the victims of Israeli aggression to exact revenge on collaborates who managed to escape from detention.

It was weakness of the security agencies at the  time which led to the ‘regrettable’ extrajudicial killings, he suggested. 

However, Amnesty says that many of these unlawful killings were publicly billed as attacks against people assisting Israel during the July and August 2014 conflict as part of an operation, codenamed “Strangling Necks”, to target “collaborators”. 

The report says that in reality, at least 16 of those executed had been in Hamas custody since before the conflict broke out. Many had been awaiting the outcome of their trials when they were taken away from prison and summarily executed. 

Hamas forces also abducted, tortured or attacked members and supporters of Fatah, their main rival political organization within Gaza, including former members of the Palestinian Authority security forces, says Amnesty.   

The human rights organisation noted that not a single person has been held accountable, indicating that these crimes were either ordered or condoned by the authorities. 

Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s director of the Middle East and North Africa programme said that it was “absolutely appalling that, while Israeli forces were inflicting massive death and destruction upon the people in Gaza, Hamas forces took the opportunity to ruthlessly settle scores, carrying out a series of unlawful killings and other grave abuses.”  

“Instead of upholding justice, the Hamas authorities and leadership have continuously encouraged and facilitated these appalling crimes against powerless individuals. Their failure to even condemn the unlawful killings, abduction and torture of perceived suspects leaves leaves them effectively with blood on their hands,” said Philip 

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