Hamas keeping prisoners in secret jails

February 14th, 2009 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Gaza City, Feb 14 (Xinhua) The Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip Saturday said it was keeping a number of criminals in an alternative secret detention facility after the only prison in Gaza was destroyed during Israel’s recent military offensive.

Islam Shahwan, the spokesman for Hamas’ police force in Gaza, said the people who have been kept in the secret detention facility were “jailed for being involved in clannish fighting and attacks on public institutions”.

Shahwan, however, did not reveal the place of the jail and the number of people held there. “We can’t tell the place due to security reasons and in order to maintain the lives of the inmates and the jailors.”

Four prisoners were killed Dec 28 when Israeli warplanes bombed the central prison as part of Israel’s 22-day onslaught in Gaza Strip. Hamas was keeping the prisoners inside the prison though it evacuated all its security facilities during the war.

Human rights group accused Hamas of killing around 20 people; a number of them were prisoners who were chased down after escaping the airstrike on the prison.

Hamas says those who were killed were either collaborators with Israel or charged for killing Palestinians in clannish feuds, but human rights groups say Hamas used the wartime chaos to retaliate on political opponents loyal to the Fatah movement.

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