Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Gaza Strip, says it plans to conduct a number of public executions.
The group maintains that the death sentences against 13 men convicted of murder will stand, despite the fact that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to sign the verdicts. Previously, executions have only been carried out after Abbas has given his consent.
Hamas politicians said Wednesday that they have approved plans to carry out the executions, plans that Abbas' government believes are illegal.
The UN has asked Hamas to refrain from carrying out the executions. The organization's Special Envoy to the Middle East, Nikolaj Mladenov, told the UN Security Council that according to international law the death penalty may only be imposed for the most serious crimes and according to processes that "adhere strictly to the requirements of a fair trial."
- I strongly doubt that the sentences in Gaza meet these requirements, said Mladenov.
A spokesman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, warns that public executions are a violation of international human rights laws.
Under Israel's military offensive against the Gaza Strip in 2013, Hamas executed 23 men who were accused of being spies for Israel. Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, the group has also executed 19 others, who were sentenced to death for murder, or for having collaborated with Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then compared Hamas to the Islamic State.
“The ideology of these two groups calls for Islamic caliphates and both use the same murderous methods — Hamas is the Islamic State, the Islamic State is Hamas.”
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