Hamas executes three for murder: Interior ministry
AFP, Tuesday 17 Jul 2012
Three convicted of 'intentional murder' by the Hamas government are executed

The Hamas government in Gaza executed three men convicted of murder on Tuesday morning, the interior ministry said.

"Based on religious law and our religion and what is stipulated in Palestinian law... three men convicted of intentional murder were executed on Tuesday morning in accordance with a court order sentencing them to death by hanging after their conviction," the Hamas interior ministry said in a statement.

It identified the executed men only by their initials and said it had offered the families of the victims the opportunity to seek "blood money"—a compensation payment from the convicted.

"But the families of the victims demanded the punishment be carried out," the statement said.

In April, the Hamas government hanged three other Palestinians, one convicted of "collaboration" and two others convicted of murder.

The executions, which take place without the presence of reporters, have been criticised domestically and internationally.

Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking are all punishable by death.

All execution orders must be approved by the Palestinian president before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognises the legitimacy of Mahmud Abbas, whose four-year term ended in 2009.

In April, European Union officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah condemned Hamas for carrying out executions and urged the Islamist movement to abolish the death penalty.