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Permanent military court in Gaza issues new death sentence

Ref: 9/2014


On Thursday, 06 February 2014, the Permanent
Military Court sentenced (A. W. E.), 40, a civilian from Gaza City, to death by
firing squad after convicting him of collaboration with hostile parties
according to the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979. The sentence was
issued in absentia as the abovementioned civilian has been out of the Gaza
Strip since 2009.


According to the Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights’ (PCHR) documentation, this is the first death sentence to be issued in
2014.  Thus, the total number of death
sentences issued by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has risen to 149
sentences since 1994, of which 27 have been issued in the West Bank and 122 in
the Gaza Strip.  Among those issued in
the Gaza Strip, 64 sentences have been issued since 2007 without ratification of
the Palestinian President in violation of the law
. Since its
establishment, the PNA implemented 30 sentences, 28 of which were implemented
in the Gaza Strip and 2 in the West Bank. Among those implemented in the Gaza
Strip, 17 have been implemented since 2007 without ratification of the
Palestinian President in violation of the law.


In light of the above, PCHR stresses the


1. Emphasizes that
the Palestinian Authority has the right to prosecute alleged traitors for
crimes of treason, including those who collaborate with Israeli occupation
authorities.  However, PCHR highlights
the right of each person to a fair trial conducted in accordance with accepted
legal standards. Any penalty imposed must serve as a deterrent while also
maintain standards of humanity.  PCHR
also reiterates that its stance against the death penalty is a professional
opinion based on legal and ethical standards; and

2. The 1979
Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is
unconstitutional when implemented by the PNA, as it has not been presented to,
nor approved by the legislature. Since 1995, PCHR has repeatedly called for the
abolition of this Code as it violates international standards of a fair trial.


PCHR is gravely concerned over the continued
application of the death penalty in PNA 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. Stresses that
ratification over death sentences is an exclusive right of the Palestinian
President in conformity with the constitution and relevant laws;

3. Calls for
reviewing 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) 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;

4. 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;



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