|Gaza Military Court Sentences Man to Death|
|Thursday, 13 September 2012 00:00|
On Wednesday, 12 September 2012, the Military Court in Gaza City sentenced Z.A.H. (45), a civilian from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, to death by hanging. The court convicted Z.A.H. of spying in favor of an enemy state, in violation of the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979. The court also sentenced his wife, R.K.H. (40) to 10 years of imprisonment with hard labor for the same charge.
According to PCHR’s documentation, this sentence is the fourth of its kind in 2012. Thus, the number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian Authority (PA) since its establishment in 1994 is 129, including 103 death sentences issued in the Gaza Strip and 26 in the West Bank; 43 of these sentences have been issued since 2007. Of these sentences, 27 have been executed, including 25 in the Gaza Strip and 2 in the West Bank. Since 2007, 14 death sentences have been executed in the Gaza Strip.
PCHR notes that the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is unconstitutional when applied by the PNA as it has not been presented to, nor approved by, the legislature. Since 1995, PCHR has also repeatedly called for its abolition, as it violates the international standards for a fair trial.
PCHR is extremely concerned about the continued application of the death penalty in PNA controlled areas, and:
1. Calls for the announcement of an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a form of punishment as it violates international human rights standards and instruments, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention against Torture.
2. Calls upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to ratify such cruel and inhuman punishment.
3. Calls for the PLO Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979 to no longer be applied as it is unconstitutional.
4. Calls for a review of all legislation related to the death penalty, especially Law No. 74 (1936), which remains in effect in the Gaza Strip, and the Jordanian Penal Code No. 16 (1960), which remains in effect in the West Bank, and the enactment of a unified penal code that conforms to the spirit of international human rights instruments, especially those pertaining to the abolition of the death penalty.
5. Points out that a call for the abolishment of the death penalty does not reflect a tolerance for those convicted of serious crimes, but rather is a call for utilizing deterrent penalties that maintain our humanity.
6. Emphasizes that the Palestinian Authority has the right to prosecute alleged traitors for crimes of treason, including those who collaborate with occupation authorities. However, PCHR highlights the rights of each person to a fair trial conducted in accordance with accepted legal standards. Any penalty imposed must serve as a deterrent, while also maintaining standards of humanity. PCHR also reiterates that its stance against the death penalty is a professional opinion based on legal and ethical standards.
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