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Death Sentence Issued in Gaza: PCHR Calls for Respecting Palestine’s International Obligations

Ref: 08/2020

On 05 February 2020, The Khan Younis First Instance Court issued a death sentence by hanging against A. T (23), from Rafah after convicting him with the murder of (Y.B) with a firearm on 04 December 2017.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the ongoing use of death penalty in the Gaza Strip and calls upon the authorities to respect Palestine’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’ Second Optional Protocol, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (Acceded in June 2018).

This is the first sentence of its kind in 2020, raising the number of death sentences issued in the Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled areas since 1994 to 220: 30 in the West Bank and 190 in the Gaza Strip. Of the Gaza Strip sentences, 132 were issued after 2007.

Since the establishment of the PA, 41 death sentences were executed: 39 in the Gaza Strip, and two in the West Bank. Of those executed in the Gaza Strip, 28 were carried out after 2007 without the ratification of the Palestinian President in violation of the Palestinian law.

In addition to its absolute condemnation of the death penalty, PCHR emphasizes that issuing death sentences requires presence of the necessary litigation guarantees, particularly right to defence, and interrogation techniques that lead objective evidence-based convictions. These requirements are unavailable in the Gaza Strip; thus, PCHR calls upon the authorities to abstain immediately from using the death penalty.

PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian President to issue a law by decree to suspend the death penalty in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, until an elected legislative authority assumes the legislative power and abolishes it from Palestinian legislations.

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