Israeli media is reporting that Human Rights Watch has called upon the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to pressure Hamas into ending violations of human rights and international law in the judicial system and prisons in the Gaza Strip. According to a Haaretz report:
The Human Rights Watch organization is calling on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to pressure Hamas to put an end to violations of human rights and international law in the judicial system and prisons in the Gaza Strip, a territory under Hamas’ control. The appeal is contained in a report that the U.S.-based human rights group released last week. ‘Hamas grew out of the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood,’ the organization noted. ‘Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, whose political arm holds the country’s presidency, should pressure Hamas leaders to end the kinds of abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture, that they themselves suffered under former president Hosni Mubarak.’ The 43-page report, which is entitled ‘Abusive System: Criminal Justice in Gaza,’ details a series of major civil rights violations the group says were committed against suspects and detainees, including arbitrary detention and imprisonment without notifying family members or without any contact with the outside world. The authorities in Gaza are guilty of using torture to extract confessions, barring prisoners’ access to legal counsel and putting civilians on trial in military courts, the organization says. Its report contains details of three cases in which the accused were allegedly executed on the basis of confessions apparently secured through torture, including one person convicted of collaboration with Israel. Human Rights Watch is calling for an overhaul of the judicial system in the Gaza Strip, and says the courts in the territory do not take allegations of torture sufficiently seriously. The report was presented at a news conference in Gaza City on Wednesday by its author, Bill Van Esveld, based on interviews conducted last year by local residents of the Strip. The Gaza-based interviewers spoke with six former detainees; six defense attorneys, three of whom were themselves held in detention and allegedly tortured; two relatives of a man who was executed; and a former judge. The organization’s report is also based on information from Palestinian human rights groups in Gaza that track the activities of the judiciary and the prison system and publicize information on individual cases of human rights violations. Execution of prisoners One major motive for violation of prisoners’ rights is the rivalry between Palestinian political groups themselves, the report noted. And when it comes to the West Bank, which is controlled by Hamas’ rival Fatah, Human Rights Watch said: ‘Hamas’s rival in the West Bank, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, arrests and detains Palestinians arbitrarily, including Hamas members or sympathizers, and similarly subjects detainees to torture and abuse.’ According to the report, however, the evidence of false arrest and torture in the Gaza Strip related not only to Fatah members under detention but also to criminal suspects of various kinds. According to the report, last year the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights recorded 102 complaints of torture by security forces in Gaza, as well as another 112 in the West Bank.
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The Hamas charter states that it is “is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an early media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations . In 2007, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and in 2008, an Israeli TV station reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” had traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict with Israel.