Hamas gate-crashes press conference where it is accused of torture
Representatives of Gaza's Islamist Hamas government turned up at a Human Rights Watch press conference in Gaza on Wednesday to dispute a recent report compiled by the international rights group accusing Hamas of torture and other abuses of justice • The rights group says that Hamas security forces had committed rampant abuses against Palestinian prisoners,
News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
Representatives of Gaza's Islamist Hamas government turned up at a Human Rights Watch press conference in Gaza on Wednesday to dispute a recent report compiled by the international rights group accusing Hamas of torture and other abuses of justice.
The surprise appearance by Hamas government representatives turned the news conference into an open debate, an uncommon display in the Gaza Strip where, in the past, Hamas would probably have remained aloof or prevented such a press event on its turf.
The rights group said Wednesday that Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip had committed rampant abuses against Palestinian prisoners, including beatings with metal clubs and rubber hoses, mock executions and arbitrary arrests, and urged the Islamic terror group to swiftly reform its criminal justice system.
The Human Rights Watch report was researched in Gaza with the knowledge of the Palestinian Islamist movement.
The rights group cited the case of Abdel Karim Shrair, who was arrested by Hamas in August 2008 and tortured for three weeks, according to the man's family and lawyers.
Shrair faced further abuse at the hands of Gaza's internal security agency and was denied visits for weeks, the report said. He was then charged with collaborating with Israel based on confessions made under torture, according to his lawyer.
Shrair's mother, Safia Ahmad Shrair, told HRW that when she was allowed to see him in October of that year, his legs and face were bruised, his feet were swollen, his hands and arms had rope marks, and his chest had burn marks.
Hamas executed Shrair in 2011 by firing squad. His mother said Hamas forbade the family from burying him themselves and beat her with sticks when she tried to hold his body.
In its report, HRW alleged that such practices were not limited to suspected political offenses.
It cited one man, identified only as a lawyer named "Y'' for fear of reprisals, who said he was arrested for fraud by Hamas police who ransacked his office and confiscated his passport, client files and other items. (continue reading...)