Amnesty accuses Hamas of torture and killings


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL yesterday called on the de facto Hamas government in Gaza to immediately end violence against men suspected of collaborating with Israel during its 23-day offensive against Gaza, which killed 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and wounded 4,300.

Since Israel began its attack on December 28th, Hamas security men and militiamen in the Gaza Strip have, according to Amnesty, “carried out a deadly campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of ‘collaborating’ with Israel, as well as opponents and critics.

“At least two dozen men have been shot dead by Hamas gunmen and scores of others have been shot in the legs, kneecapped or inflicted with other injuries intended to cause permanent disability, subjected to severe beatings which have caused multiple fractures and other injuries, or otherwise tortured or ill-treated.” Most were kidnapped and dumped, dead or injured, at isolated sites.

Amnesty said some of the victims were prisoners who escaped from Gaza’s central prison when Israel bombed the facility, while others were former members of the Palestinian Authority security services or members of the rival Fatah party which administers the West Bank.

One victim was quoted as testifying: “Four masked men came to my house on 31st December 2008 at about 4pm; they were armed with Kalashnikovs. They took me behind my house. They shot me in the back of my right knee and then shot my left leg three times.”

Although Hamas has publicly accused Fatah supporters of spying for Israel, the leadership denies ordering reprisal attacks against suspects and blames rogue gunmen for killings and woundings. Amnesty has asked Hamas to appoint an impartial commission to investigate the allegations.