Hamas hangs 2 convicted of spying for Israel

AP News
Posted: Jul 26, 2011 9:52 AM
Hamas hangs 2 convicted of spying for Israel

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip hanged a father and son at dawn Tuesday for collaborating with Israel, a government spokesman said.

The two were found guilty of helping Israel target a top Hamas leader and identify other militants who were later killed by Israeli forces, said Ihab Ghussein, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza.

They were arrested in 2003 and charged a year later, and had exhausted all legal means to appeal the sentence, he said.

He would not provide their names, but the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights identified them as 51-year-old Mahmoud Abu Qenas and his 22-year-old son, Rami Abu Qenas.

The family of the two men executed Tuesday burned tires and tried to shut down a Gaza City road in response to the deaths. Family members were quickly pushed back into their homes by Hamas police who also shooed away journalists and told them not to take photos.

In a statement, the human rights group condemned the hangings, saying the Palestinian judicial process was so flawed that it would have not been possible to conclusively prove the two men were involved in spying.

The deaths brought to five the number of Palestinians executed by Hamas for spying since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007. Another seventeen alleged informers were killed in vigilante-style shootings by Palestinians during the three-week Israeli offensive in Gaza that ended in January 2009. Some were on death row or awaiting trial by Hamas.

Collaborators are loathed by Palestinian society at large and vigilante killings of suspected informers have been common in the Palestinian territories for decades.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said the men were accused of involvement in a 2003 assassination attempt against Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas co-founder.

Israel killed Rantisi in 2004. The two men executed Tuesday were already jailed by then.