|Execution in Gaza City on October 2, 2013|
A Hamas military court on Sunday sentenced 2 Palestinians to death for drug smuggling in the Gaza Strip, in the 1st punishment of its kind in the enclave.
"The Gaza military court announced the death penalty for 2 civilians from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, for selling narcotics," the Hamas-controlled interior ministry said in a statement.
It said a 3rd suspect was sentenced to hard labor.
Authorities have seized drugs with a street value of around $1 million (900,000 euros) 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 Islamist 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 Center for Human Rights says around a dozen death sentences have been passed down in Gaza since the start of 2017.
Source: The Daily Star, March 19, 2017
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