08/08/2008, 00.00
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Palestinian human rights center accuses Hamas of torturing Fatah activists

The violence is alleged to have been inflicted on men arrested in connection with an attack carried out on July 25. The Islamic movement calls the accusations "unjust and unbalanced".

Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Mistreatment and torture are alleged to have been inflicted by Hamas police on hundreds of Fatah activists, arrested two weeks ago. The accusation comes from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), based in the Gaza Strip, which has also denounced the fundamentalists' rejection of a lawyer's request to visit the prisoners.

Hamas has released 150 Fatah prisoners, but is still holding another 120. A spokesman for the group, Sami Abu Zuhri, calls the accusations of the PCHR "unjust and unbalanced", in that they do not take into account the arrest of Hamas militants, carried out in retaliation by Fatah in the West Bank.

The capture of Fatah followers in the Strip, which is controlled by Hamas, has been justified with the accusation that they were involved in the attack on July 25 that took the lives of five members of the Ezzedin Kassam Brigades, as well as that of a young girl. About 180 activists of the movement faithful to President Mahmoud Abbas took refuge in Israel following the fighting, which allowed them to take refuge in the West Bank.

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