Hamas court sentences six to death for ‘collaborating’ with Israel

In total 14 people were sentenced for "collaborating with the occupation," with six sentenced to be hanged, a statement from the interior ministry in Gaza said.​ (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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Hamas court sentences six to death for ‘collaborating’ with Israel

  • The six sentenced to death were not related to the November 11 flareup
  • Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response, with the Jewish state striking dozens of targets in Gaza before a ceasefire agreement

GAZA CITY: A military court in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Monday sentenced six people, including a woman, to death for “collaborating” with Israel, authorities said.
In total 14 people were sentenced for “collaborating with the occupation,” with five sentenced to be hanged and one shot, the interior ministry in Gaza said.
Eight others were sentenced to hard labor ranging from six to 15 years.
The rulings came after eight people were killed when an Israeli special forces operation in Gaza was uncovered on November 11, leading to a vicious firefight.
Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response, with the Jewish state striking dozens of targets in Gaza before a November 13 cease-fire agreement.
The six sentenced to death Monday were not directly related to the flareup, officials said.
Iyad Al-Bozum, the spokesman of the interior ministry in Gaza, told AFP they were linked “to a communications and eavesdropping device planted by the (Israeli) occupation.”
Six Hamas members were killed when the device apparently exploded after detection near Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza in May.
The six condemned to death on Monday ranged in age from 29 to 55 and had each allegedly been working with Israeli intelligence for several years.
Among those sentenced to hang was a woman living inside Israel, named as Amal Mahmoud, 55.
She was sentenced in absentia and is alleged to have encouraged her nephew in Gaza to collaborate with Israeli intelligence, according to the interior ministry.
Bozum hailed the rulings as a “clear message” to those who would cooperate with Israel.
“Collaborators must realize the (Israeli) occupation will not be able to protect them,” he told a news conference.
The verdicts drew condemnation from Human Rights Watch.
“Rushing to sentence people to death smacks of militia rule, not the rule of law,” said Omar Shakir, the watchdog’s director for Israel and the Palestinian territories.
“The death penalty is a barbaric practice and always wrong, no matter the circumstance,” he told AFP.
It was not clear when the executions of those in custody would take place.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 28 executions have been carried out in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave in 2007 from rival faction Fatah.
In May 2017, Hamas security forces invited journalists to attend the hanging in Gaza City of three men convicted over the assassination of a senior Hamas military commander.
During the 2014 war with Israel, a firing squad from Hamas’s armed wing killed six men accused of collaborating with the Jewish state.
Hamas and its allies have fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade.
Israel says the measure is necessary to isolate Hamas and prevent it from obtaining weapons, though critics say it amounts to collective punishment of the territory’s two million residents.


Turkish police arrest ruling party member, eight others after opposition chief attack

Updated 22 April 2019
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Turkish police arrest ruling party member, eight others after opposition chief attack

  • Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) was assaulted on Sunday as he attended a funeral in Ankara
  • A video of the attack showed the CHP leader being mobbed and punched

ISTANBUL: Turkish police on Monday arrested nine people, including a member of the ruling AKP party, after a mob attack on opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu that sparked widespread criticism.
Kilicdaroglu, 70, of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) was assaulted on Sunday in a crowd as he attended a funeral in Ankara for a soldier killed fighting Kurdish militants in the southeast.
The attack came days after the opposition CHP won Ankara and Istanbul from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP in March 31 local elections, seen as a major setback for the ruling party after a decade-and-a-half in power.
A video of Sunday’s attack showed the CHP leader being mobbed and punched, then chanting crowds surrounded a house where he was taken for his protection. The images went viral on social media.
CHP leaders blamed Erdogan’s AKP for provoking the attack and demanded those detained be held accountable. They called for the interior minister to resign over the incident.
“This is not an ordinary attack, this is not an ordinary provocation. This is planned,” CHP Istanbul chief Canan Kaftancioglu told several thousands of supporters at a rally from the top of a bus.
The crowds chanted slogans “Shoulder to shoulder against Fascism,” and waved banners reading: “Are you so scared by the CHP’s success?” in reference to the AKP’s loss of Istanbul and Ankara.
During campaigning for the local polls, Erdogan often accused Kilicdaroglu and the CHP of backing the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and showed videos of the opposition leader at his rallies.
Kilicdaroglu was not badly injured in the assault.
The chief suspect in Sunday’s attack, identified only by his initials O.S., was arrested in Sivrihisar in central Anatolia and was being taken to Ankara, private NTV television reported.
The AKP later identified him as Osman Sarigun and said he was a party member who would face expulsion.
“AKP is against any form of violence... There is no room for violence in democratic politics,” AKP spokesman Omer Celik said on Twitter.
Eight other people have also been detained, officials said.
Speaking to AFP, the CHP’s Kaftancioglu welcomed the move to expel the suspect but said the problem was about the polarization of Turkish society.
“The situation will not change with one person’s dismissal unless the mentality encouraging attackers by polarizing society changes,” she said.
Erdogan had presented the local elections as a matter of national survival. He campaigned heavily even though he was not running in the election himself.
For his supporters, Erdogan is the strong leader Turkey needs to deal with its security threats and is a voice for more religiously conservative Turks.
Critics say Erdogan has stoked divisions by branding foes as enemies of the state and has undermined the rule of law with a broad crackdown on dissent.
The AKP has won every election since coming to power 17 years ago, but voters appeared to punish the party in major cities in this ballot as the economy slid into recession after a currency crisis last year.
Electoral authorities have given the CHP candidates their mandates for the Istanbul and Ankara mayor posts, but Erdogan’s AKP is seeking a re-run of the Istanbul vote, citing irregularities.
The CHP’s Ekrem Imamoglu won the Istanbul race by a very tight margin after two weeks of recounts.
The CHP held Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu responsible for “provocation” after he said last year he had ordered governors not to allow CHP members to join soldiers’ funerals.
Soylu ruled out any “outside provocation” in the incident, and said the main culprit was a relative of the dead soldier.