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Two given death penalty for Gaza drug smuggling

It is the first time the death penalty has been issued for drug-related crime

Gulf News

Gaza: A Hamas military court on Sunday sentenced two Palestinians to death for drug smuggling in the Gaza Strip, in the first punishment of its kind in the enclave.

“The Gaza military court announced the death penalty for two civilians from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, for selling narcotics,” the Hamas-controlled interior ministry said in a statement.

It said a third suspect was sentenced to hard labour.

Authorities have seized drugs with a street value of around $1 million (Dh3.67 million) over the past few months, the ministry said.

They seized 1,250 packets of cannabis and 400 pills of Tramadol — a powerful opiate-based painkiller — in January alone, it said.

Until Sunday, only people guilty of spying for Israel or murder had received the death penalty in Gaza, controlled by Hamas since 2007.

All Palestinian death sentences in theory have to be approved by president Mahmoud Abbas, but Hamas has long refused to accept his legitimacy.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights says around a dozen death sentences have been passed down in Gaza since the start of 2017.