Latest Exectutions in Hamas-Controlled Gaza Fail to Meet International Justice Standards

Press Release
July 18, 2012

Latest Exectutions in Hamas-Controlled Gaza Fail to Meet International Justice Standards

One Prisoner Confessed After Suspected Torture

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) -- The execution of three men in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip illustrates the ongoing failures to ensure rigorous fair trials that meet international standards, Amnesty International said today after three men convicted of murder were hanged.

Recently, Gaza has seen a significant increase in executions, with three other hangings this year. At least 14 have been executed by Hamas since 2010.

"The hanging of these men is a deeply disappointing episode in the short history of Hamas' de facto control of the Gaza Strip," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and Africa. "Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, but even more egregious, at least one of those executed yesterday was sentenced to death after proceedings, which failed to meet international fair trial standards. When individuals face the ultimate sanction, it is all the more necessary that trial proceedings are scrupulously fair."

Na'el Jamal Qandil Doghmosh, 21, one of the three men executed, was sentenced to death for murder in April 2011. His final appeal was rejected by Gaza's highest legal body, the Court of Cassation in May this year.

His family said Doghmosh "confessed" under torture by police investigators after he was arrested in May 2010. When his family was able to visit him two months later, his nails had been torn out and he had burns and bruises on his body.

Amnesty International is unaware of any investigation launched into these reports. Torture in detention in Gaza is common, with perpetrators rarely, if ever, brought to account.

Of the other two men executed Tuesday, one identified as "F.T.W." was convicted of murder, and the other, Hazem Hilmi Herez, was convicted of murder and robbery.

According to Palestinian law, death sentences must be signed by the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), currently Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah party. The PA president has not ratified any death sentences since 2005.

"The refusal by Hamas to adhere to this legal requirement is just one example of how they flout the legal process," Harrison said. "Another is the imposition of death sentences by military courts against civilians. Yesterday's executions raise grave concerns for other Palestinian prisoners in Gaza on death row. We urge the Hamas authorities to stop all executions and to immediately overturn or commute all death sentences in Gaza, or to grant re-trials in proceedings which comply with fair trial standards, and without recourse to the death penalty."

Amnesty International is aware of 27 Gaza prisoners on death row. One man known as A.M.A. could face imminent execution if his appeal to the military court against his conviction for "collaboration with the enemy" is rejected.

According to local human rights organizations, six of the 14 who have been executed by Hamas were convicted on charges of "collaboration with the enemy," or treason by passing sensitive information to Israeli security bodies.

Amnesty International has repeatedly raised concerns that procedures before military courts in Gaza, where alleged "collaborators" are tried, fall far short of international standards for fair trials.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty – the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment – in all cases as a violation of the right to life and the right not to be tortured or subjected to any cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Learn More