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The ongoing sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, the 23-year-old Florida man who in 2018 murdered fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, will test whether the seven men and five women on the jury hearing his case can hate the sin but muster the courage to spare the life of the sinner. That is exactly what his defense team is asking them to do as they sit in judgment of the person who perpetrated one of this country’s most brutal mass murders. Like many death penalty defense lawyers before them, Cruz’s lawyers, to their credit, have not downplayed the gravity of the horrors their client inflicted in Parkland, Florida. Instead, during the sentencing trial, or what the journalist Dahlia Lithwick once called a “trial of the heart,” they have focused their attention on who Cruz is and the factors that shaped his life. As the Supreme Court said more than fifty years ago, in capital cases those who impose the sentence must consider “

Hamas executes five Palestinians in Gaza, including two for 'collaboration', for the first time since 2017

The execution of five Palestinians in Gaza by the ruling Hamas group is the first of its kind since 2017.

The Hamas Islamist movement ruling the Gaza Strip announced on Sunday that it executed five Palestinians, including two for "collaboration" with Israel.

The executions for collaboration are the first carried out in the coastal Palestinian enclave for more than five years.

"On Sunday morning, the death sentence was carried out against two condemned over collaboration with the occupation (Israel), and three others in criminal cases," Hamas said in a statement.

It added that the defendants had previously been given "their full rights to defend themselves".

Hamas's interior ministry provided the initials and years of birth of the five executed Palestinians, but did not give their full names.

The two executed over "collaboration" with Israel were two men born in 1978 and 1968.

The older of the two was a resident of Khan Yunis in the south of the blockaded Gaza Strip. He was convicted of supplying Israel in 1991 with "information on men of the resistance, their residence and the location of rocket launchpads", Hamas said.

The second was condemned for supplying Israel in 2001 with intelligence "that led to the targeting and martyrdom of citizens" by Israeli forces, the statement added.

The three others executed had been convicted of murder, the statement said.

First executions in years 


Hamas has sentenced numerous people to death in recent years for "collaboration" with Israel, but the executions announced Sunday are the first carried out since May 2017.

Three Palestinians - Ashraf Abu Leila, Hisham al-Aloul and Abdallah al-Nashar - were executed then over their involvement in assassinating a Hamas military leader.

The men were publicly executed, with hundreds of people allowed to watch the sentences being carried out.

They had been arrested just weeks earlier over the killing of Mazen Faqha, who was allegedly shot dead on behalf of Israel.

While Hamas keeps the death penalty on the statute books, Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank have not carried out such a sentence in recent years.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, seated in the West Bank city of Ramallah, has signed up to the United Nations' treaty opposing the death penalty.

Abbas's Fatah movement and Hamas have been divided since 2007, following the outbreak of fighting between the Palestinian factions.

The Palestinian Authority operates in the West Bank, which is home to nearly three million Palestinians and has been under occupation since Israel's invasion in 1967. 

Hamas, meanwhile, rules over 2.3 million Palestinians who have lived under a crippling Israeli-led blockade for 15 years.

Source: english.alaraby.co.uk, The New Arab Staff & Agencies, September 4, 2022





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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
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