In a shocking report released last week, a UN-affiliated human rights group detailed the cases of several hundred people who were summoned, arrested, and detained over the course of one year by the Islamist terrorist group Hamas for their political beliefs.
According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, which has a special consultative status in the United Nations, the terrorist group arrested and detained 742 people between March 1, 2018 and March 1 of this year, simply for exercising their democratic rights.
In 588 cases, the summoned persons were detained, and in 119 of these cases, the person was detained more than once. Of the total number of cases, 448 persons were detained solely because of their political affiliation.
Al Mezan’s research is part of an EU-funded project to document rights abuses and promote compliance with international law.
“The ‘We Want to Live’ protests, which Hamas perceived to be a global conspiracy targeting the movement, have doubled the number of prisoners [being held for expressing their opinion] in an attempt to prevent the protests from escalating,” Samir Zaqout, Al Mezan’s director of monitoring and awareness, told Al-Monitor.
“Holding these members accountable doesn’t take place according to the law in force in the Palestinian territories, which requires the general prosecution to take action,” he added.
The human rights watchdog also documented reports of police exercising excessive force in dispersing protesters, journalists, and human rights activists.
The brutal suppression of the protests earned the terror group condemnation from Nikolay Mladenov, the United Nations envoy to Israel and the Palestinian territories, who in March condemned the “campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children.”
Mladenov also said that he was “particularly alarmed” by the beatings of journalist and human rights workers, as well as the raids on their homes. The people of Gaza have the “right to protest without fear of reprisal,” he added.
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