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Human Rights Watch report on Hamas courts in Gaza

A new Human Rights Watch report details severe human rights violations in the criminal justice system of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, including arbitrary detention and torture. Several cases detail executions based on confessions obtained through torture. Prisoners are often refused access to a lawyer, abusive security officials are said to enjoy impunity, and families of prisoners often don’t know of their relatives’ whereabouts.

The 43-page report includes testimonies from victims, families, representative of the criminal justice system, and Palestinian human rights organizations. 

Abusive System: Failures of Criminal Justice in Gaza (Human Rights Watch)

Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. The organization stands with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. HRW investigates and exposes human rights violations and holds abusers accountable. 

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    1. XYZ

      This should not surprise anybody familiar with the Middle East and its radical Islamist movements.
      First of all, autocratic regimes using torture and repression have been the norm in the Arab Middle East.
      We have now seen rebellions directed against some of the regimes that have used these undemocratic
      means to maintain power, but the new regimes that have been installed in Tunisia and Egypt by way of
      free elections have yet to prove that they are really “democratic”. This will happen only when they have
      that they reject repression, restrain police powers, allow free speech and dissent and, most importantly
      of all, show a willingness to give up power if voted out of office in the future.

      Secondly, the Makor Rishon newspaper this last weekend had an article about Prof Shaul Bar-Tal who is an
      expert on HAMAS and has written a book in which he explains what his in-depth study of HAMAS political
      and religious literature are teaching their followers (He speaks and reads Arabic). Their ideology could
      be described as totalitarian and Fascist, emphasizing ultra-nationalism in an Islamic framework (Bar-Tal says that they define
      Islam as BOTH a religion and an “Umma” – a people, much like Judaism does), antisemitism, the redemptive
      value of violence and jihad, the obligation to make jihad and the goal of ultimately bringing in a utopian
      era under a renewed Caliphate. Thus, they can justify to themselves that all who oppose them are preventing
      the Muslim people from reaching their utopian goals and are thus the enemies of the umma and all of mankind.

      Although he was Iranian, Ayatollah Khomeini’s comment that “those who think the Islamic Revolution was made
      only to reduce the price of watermelon do not understand what the Revolution is about” is relevant here. I think the same
      can be said about HAMAS and their ideological relatives, the Muslim Brotherhood believe. They don’t come
      to power merely to run things more efficiently than FATAH or Mubarak did (in HAMAS case, also in order
      to run the war against Israel more effectively) but rather to improve the Muslim people in general and bring
      about their ultimate redemption. Thus, those who stand in their way must be removed, one way or another, if not
      by persuasion and education, than by harsher measures.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Piotr Berman

      “First of all, autocratic regimes using torture and repression have been the norm in the Arab Middle East.”

      It would be more fair to say “Regimes using torture and repression have been the norm in Middle East”, because these problems are also present in democratic (and non-Arab) countries of the region.

      Reply to Comment