Hamas has passed new legislation in the Gaza Strip that will impose the death penalty on anyone convicted of taking or selling drugs.
Hamas Attorney-General Mohammed Abed said the new law is meant to repair the damage done by the more lax Israeli laws that were adopted by the Palestinian Authority, and which let convicted drug users and dealers off with jail time.
"The Zionist law included light punishments that encouraged rather than deterred those who take and trade in drugs, and there is no objective, national or moral justification for continuing to apply it," said Abed.
A recent Hamas crackdown on drugs in the Gaza Strip reportedly netted 100 users and dealers. All are expected to face execution under the new law.
Similarly harsh drug laws in the rest of the Middle East, including "moderate" states like Egypt and Jordan, have resulted in very low levels of drug use and dealing in the region.
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