[JURIST] A military court established in the Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder] by the Palestinian militant group Hamas [JURIST archive; BBC backgrounder] handed down its first ruling on Wednesday, sentencing three members of rival party Fatah [JURIST archive; BBC backgrounder] to 18 months in prison and fining them $280. A fourth Fatah member was sentenced to one year in prison and a $140 fine. The four men were accused of planting a bomb near the house of a Hamas official, although no one was hurt in the resulting explosion. AP has more.
The Hamas court was established after Hamas' violent June takeover of the Gaza Strip [BBC report]. The judiciary of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Gaza Strip, under orders from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile], has refused to cooperate with the Hamas government and ceased functioning since the takeover in June. Hamas vowed in September that it would replace PA judges [JURIST report] who refused to cooperate with it. The military court was expected to begin considering criminal cases that ordinarily would have been dealt with by the PA courts.