Hamas `executes three convicted killers`

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas said three convicted murderers were executed in its Gaza enclave.

Gaza City: The Palestinian Islamist movement
Hamas said three convicted murderers were executed in its Gaza enclave on Tuesday, in a move likely to draw fire from human rights groups.

"The interior ministry this morning carried out the death
penalty on three criminals who had committed murders after
completing all legal procedures," the ministry said in a

The ministry said the three had been given "every right
to defend themselves in open trials attended by their lawyers
and family members."

It also said that it granted the opportunity for the
families of the victims to forgive the killers and accept
blood money, in keeping with Islamic law, "until moments
before the death sentence was carried out."

It was not immediately clear how the three were killed,
as Hamas would not comment on the matter and police refused to allow reporters to view the bodies prior to burial.

Hamdi Shaqura, of the Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights, identified the three men as Rami Joha, 25, Mattar
al-Shobaki, 35, and Amer Jandiya, 33.

He said Joha was sentenced to death by a civilian court
in April 2004 for his role in the gang-rape and murder of a
14-year-old girl. Shobaki was also sentenced by a civilian
court, in 1996, for the murder of another man.

Jandiya, sentenced in March 2009 for the murder of a
money changer, was the only one of the three to have been
tried by a Hamas-run military court, Shaqura said, because he
had been a member of Palestinian security forces ousted from
Gaza by the Islamist group nearly three years ago.

Shaqura condemned the executions, calling the death
penalty a "flagrant violation of human rights and a form of
torture that does not deter crime."

At a media conference hours after the executions, the
victims` families thanked the government and said the move
would prevent future crimes.

The girl`s brother said family members had been allowed
to see Joha before and after he was killed but had not
witnessed the execution itself. He declined to say how it was
carried out.

Last month, Hamas executed by firing squad two
Palestinians convicted of collaborating with Israel. It was
the first time the death penalty had been carried out since
the Islamist group seized power in Gaza.

Several human rights groups expressed outrage over those
executions, with Amnesty International saying the men were
found guilty in unfair military proceedings and calling the
move an "extremely retrograde step."


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