Amnesty calls on Hamas to cancel reporter’s trial

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A leading rights group is calling on Gaza’s Hamas rulers to cancel the trial of a Palestinian journalist who exposed government corruption.

Amnesty International said Monday the prosecution of Hajar Harb was “an outrageous assault on media freedom.”

A 2016 report by Harb highlighted misconduct at the Hamas-run health ministry, where healthy people purportedly paid doctors to help them get around the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip by issuing referrals to hospitals abroad.

A year later, a Hamas court sentenced Harb in absentia to six months in prison and a fine. She appealed the ruling and has a hearing Tuesday.

Rights groups often charge that fair litigation is not guaranteed in Hamas’s judiciary system. Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the internationally-recognized Palestinian Authority in 2007.