Amnesty International, a human rights group, accused the Islamist militant group Hamas on Wednesday of using their 50-day war with the Jewish nation of Israel as a cover to abduct, torture and publicly carry out extrajudicial executions of suspected dissidents.
In a report, Amnesty accused Hamas of war crimes for executing Palestinians they believed to have worked with Israel. Amnesty also placed blame on the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority for failing to prevent or investigate Hamas’ executions.
“To date, no one has been held to account for committing these unlawful killings and other abuses,” Amnesty said regarding Hamas’ behavior during the 2014 war with Israel.
According to Amnesty, at least 23 people were subjected to extrajudicial executions. Some of the victims had been arrested months or years prior. They faced military courts and tribunals that were unfair and did not respect due process, according to Amnesty's report.
Six men were executed in front of a mosque in Gaza city after Friday prayers in August 2014. Tied up with hoods over their heads and forced on their knees, the men were executed by a firing squad with AK-47s in front of a crowd. Later, they had signs hung on their bodies accusing them of providing information to the enemy, The Washington Post reports.
Hamas had reportedly used abandoned rooms in a hospital in Gaza City to detain, interrogate and torture suspects as other parts of the hospital remained operational. The alleged suspects were "beaten with truncheons, gun butts, hoses, wire, and fists; some were also burnt with fire, hot metal or acid."
An ex-Palestinian Authority policeman was imprisoned and killed by Hamas. His brother told Amnesty: “His arms and legs were broken … his body was as if you’d put it in a bag and smashed it … his body was riddled with about 30 bullets.
“He had slaughter marks around his neck," he continued, "marks of knives … And from behind the head – there was no brain.”
He added that his brother's bones were all smashed while in captivity, Fox News reports.
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are reportedly standing off over who should be in charge of administrating civil and security affairs in Gaza. As a consequence, donations from governments for rebuilding the war-ravaged strip have been placed on hold.
Hamas said in a statement that they had "no connection with killings" documented in Amnesty's report, The Washington Post reports.