In Gaza, Hamas blocks access to some Internet sites, raising concern, and some praise, from residents
- Year: 2012
- Length: 5:34 minutes (5.1 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Palestinians in Gaza face arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and unfair trials, according to findings of a report from Human Rights Watch released today. The report, “Abusive System: Criminal Justice in Gaza,” documents what it calls “extensive violations” by Hamas security forces and says courts are failing to protect due process. It notes that since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, three men have been executed after confessions that appear to have been obtained under torture.
Safia Ahmad Shrair described to Human Rights Watch how her son, Abdel Karim, was executed by a Hamas government firing squad in May 2011, after a military court convicted him of collaboration.
“They abducted my son, put him in prison and tortured him. They executed him. Before they executed him, I didn’t get to see my son. They buried him without letting me see him. I’m asking for justice, for the truth to come out, to differentiate the oppressor from the oppressed. My son died oppressed.”
The Independent Commission for Human Rights said it had received nearly 150 complaints of torture by Hamas forces in 2011. The group also monitors abuses of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and in August faulted it for failing to hold police accountable after a beating in Ramallah led to at least six protesters being hospitalized. Human Rights Watch attributes much of the abuse of detainees to the political rivalry between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas leadership responded to the report calling it politicized and one-sided. It said it had opened prisons to rights groups for oversight.
Internet freedoms have also come under scrutiny recently, following an order from the Hamas-led government to block all pornography-related sites. Hamas contends that such sites conflict with the culture of Gaza that is based on Islam and social traditions. But some Gazans criticize the move, which they say could be used to prevent access to other information. FSRN's Rami Almeghari has more.