Human Rights Watch Report Critical of Hamas Justice System in Gaza
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday accused Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, of running a criminal justice system rife with arbitrary arrests, torture and unfair trials. Hamas officials responded sharply, challenging the methodology of the group’s research.
In a 43-page report titled “Abusive System,” Human Rights Watch detailed seven cases and called for an immediate moratorium on capital punishment in the Gaza Strip, as well as an end to prosecutions of civilians in military courts.
Gaza’s “criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights, and grants impunity to abusive security services,” Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement accompanying the report, which was presented at a news conference on Wednesday morning at a coastal hotel. “Hamas should stop the kinds of abuses that Egyptians, Syrians and others in the region have risked their lives to bring to an end.”
A number of Hamas officials disrupted the news conference, challenging Human Rights Watch’s work and barely allowing journalists time to ask questions.
“This is a politicized report that neglects the siege and the crimes of the Israeli occupation,” said Islam Shahwan, a spokesman for Hamas’s Interior Ministry.