Sunday, February 08, 2009
23:21 Mecca time, 20:21 GMT      
News Middle East
Activists seek 'Gaza abuses' probe
Rights groups say that Hamas fighters carried out extrajudicial killings during 
the Gaza war [File: AFP]

Human rights groups have called on Hamas officials to investigate widespread 
allegations of abduction, torture and the killing of Palestinians accused of 
being collaborators during Israel's war on Gaza.

Al Jazeera has been shown sworn affidavits, medical records and photographs of 
alleged victims of reprisals committed against Fatah supporters by security 
agents or associates of Hamas.

"I think that the officials from the Hamas deposed government have the 
responsibility to investigate into these incidents ... and bring those who have 
committed those crimes to justice," Randa Siniora of the Independent Commission 
for Human Rights, said on Sunday.

"There is a state of vigilantism and chaos, lawlessness in the Gaza Strip right 
now," she said.

"Extrajudicial killings have increased during the Israeli aggression."

In video

Hamas accused of attacks on Palestinian opponents
Separately on Sunday, the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights called 
for an investigation into the death of a man beaten in the custody of security 
forces loyal to the Hamas movement.

Jamil Shakoura died in a Gaza hospital after receiving a number wounds to his 
head while detained, the group said.

He was not believed to be affiliated to any political group and it was not 
clear why the security forces were investigating him.

Human rights groups say that at least three people have died while in detention 
since Hamas seized full control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after pushing 
out security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and head 
of Fatah.

Abuse allegations 

Khalil Abu Shammala, a human rights monitor, told Al Jazeera that dozens of 
Fatah members were shot and tortured as Israeli forces bombarded the Gaza Strip 
for 22 days. 

"I don't ignore that there were some mistakes made my members of Hamas, but I 
think that is not a policy adopted by the leadership here"

Ghazi Hamad,
Hamas official
Naem Atallah told Al Jazeera that he found the body of his son Osama, a Fatah 
supporter, at Gaza's Shifa hospital after he was taken away from the family 
home by 10 masked men.

"I asked them who are you? They answered that they are from the internal 
security. I asked how do I know you are from internal security and one showed 
me his ID card," he said.

Osama, a teacher and father of five children, had been strangled, suffered 
blunt force trauma to his head and been shot in the shoulder.

Another Fatah supporter, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, 
said that that he had been shot in the leg three times by Hamas loyalists.

"They shot me because I am Fatah," he told Al Jazeera.

"There were 15 guys with hoods over their heads. Three of them asked me to 
stand against the wall and asked me my name. Three started shooting."

Hamas investigations

Hamas officials have said that they have several investigations under way into 
the claims of extrajudicial beatings, torture and killings.

"All our investigations are open to everyone," Ihab al-Ghusain, a spokesman for 
the Hamas interior ministry, told Al Jazeera.

"Nobody is allowed to kill anyone, beat anyone, arrest anyone."

However, all of Al Jazeera's attempts to arrange to view the files on the 
ongoing investigations went unanswered.

Relations between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah have been strained since 2007, but 
Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, denied that the movement's leaders are 
encouraging a policy of targeting rival Palestinians.

"I don't ignore that there were some mistakes made by members of Hamas, but I 
think that is not a policy adopted by the leadership here," he said.

"I think it's a shame for Palestinians to arrest each other or torture each 
other; its very shameful so we have to stop it."
 Source:     Al Jazeera and agencies

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