UN calls on Hamas to stop planned public executions

by WorldTribune Staff, May 26, 2016

The UN’s Middle East envoy has publicly urged Hamas to halt the public executions of 13 men, most convicted of murder connected to robberies.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that public executions are prohibited under international human rights law.

Hamas execution. /Reuters/File
Hamas execution. /Reuters/File

“I urge Hamas not to carry out these executions and call on President (Mahmoud) Abbas to establish a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty,” Mladenov told the council by video-conference, according to AFP.

The death penalty can be applied only to the most serious crimes following a judicial process that upholds fair trial standards, the envoy said.

“I have serious doubts as to whether capital trials in Gaza meet these standards,” he said.

Hamas, which announced the public executions earlier this week, has rarely carried out executions in public and when it did it was mainly of people accused of collaborating with Israel. Hamas executed dozens of men for collaborating with Israel during the 2014 war.

Abbas issued a moratorium on death sentences in 2005, but Hamas no longer recognizes the legitimacy of Abbas, whose four-year term expired in 2009.

Mladenov also warned that a recent upsurge in violence between Israel and Hamas could lead to another war.

A ceasefire agreed in August 2014 “needs to be vigorously upheld by all sides if we are to avoid slipping into another devastating conflict,” he said.