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New Death Sentence Issued; PCHR Calls for Immediate Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty as a Form of Punishment in the oPt

Ref: 06/2015


The Palestinian
Center for Human Rights (PCHR) renews its demand for the abolishment of
the death penalty in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) as Gaza courts
issued a second death sentence in 2015.


On Monday, 19
January 2015, the Court of First Instance in Gaza City, acting as a court of
appeal, sentenced E. M. A. (24), from al-Maghazi refugee camp in the Central
Gaza Strip, to death by hanging after convicting him of shooting and killing M.
B. A. (68), from al-Maghazi refugee camp. in a family dispute on 15 February 2009.  A first degree court had sentenced the aforementioned
to life imprisonment on 9 March 2014, but the Prosecutor appealed the ruling,
and the sentence was raised by the Court of Appeal to death. It should be noted
that the defendant was 18 when the first sentence was issued.


This sentence has
been the second of its kind in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) since
the beginning of 2015 where the first death sentence was issued by a military
court in Hebron against (A. L. A.) on 11 January 2015 after convicting him of
collaboration with the Israeli forces.


Thus, the total
number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian Authority since 1994 has
risen to 158, of which 130 have been issued in the Gaza Strip and 28 in the
West Bank. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 73 have been issued since
Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. The Palestinian Authority also executed
32 death sentences, of which 30 have been executed in the Gaza Strip and 2 in
the West Bank. Among those executed in the Gaza Strip, 19 have been executed
since 2007 without ratification by the Palestinian President in violation of
the law.


PCHR is gravely
concerned over the continued application of the death penalty in Palestinian
Authority controlled areas, and:

1. Calls
for an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a form of
punishment because it violates international human rights standards and
instruments, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), and the UN
Convention against Torture (1984);


2. Calls
for reviewing all legislation related to the death penalty, especially the
Penal Law No. 74 (1936) which remains in effect in the Gaza Strip, and the
Jordanian Penal Code No. 16 (1960) that is in effect in the West Bank, and
enacting a unified penal code that is in line with the spirit of international
human rights instruments, especially those pertaining to the abolition of the
death penalty;

3. Points
out that the call for abolition of the death penalty does not reflect a
tolerance for those convicted of serious crimes, but rather a call for
utilizing deterrent penalties that maintain our humanity; and

4. Stresses
that ratification of the implementation of death sentences is an absolute power
of the Palestinian President according to the Palestinian Basic Law and
relevant laws, and no death sentence can be implemented without such


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