2 Death Sentences in the Gaza Strip, including One on Grounds of Drug Dealing PCHR Calls Upon Authorities in Gaza to Respect Palestine’s international Obligations and Abolish Death Penalty
Date: 10 October 2022
Time: 12:08 GMT
The Higher Crime Committee in the Gaza Strip issued 2 death sentences against 2 persons within the past 48 hours: one after conviction of premeditated murder, and the other on grounds drug dealing and possession. On Sunday, 09 October 2022, a death sentence by firing squad was issued against (F. A.) (63), a retired military officer, from Al-Fokhari area, east of Khan Yunis, after being convicted of premediated murder of (Z. A.) on 04 November 2003 in a family dispute. Meanwhile today, a death sentence was issued by hanging against (A. S.) on charges of drug dealing and possession, which is the first sentence of its kinds on grounds of drug dealing.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reaffirms its condemnation of all murder crimes and its total support with the families of victims and their right to remedy and stresses the importance of all efforts endeavored to combat drugs and drug dealing due to their drastic consequences on the Palestinian society. In the meantime, PCHR reiterates that death penalty is not the only mean to achieve justice or deter crimes and highlights the fact that Palestine is a State Party to the 1989 Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
Accordingly, the death sentences issued in 2022 in Gaza rise to 21, including 4 issued by military courts and 5 sentences issued in affirmation of former death sentences by the Appeal Court. The total number of death sentences issued in the Palestinian territory since 1994 has reached 274; 30 in the West Bank and 244 in the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 185 sentences were issued after the 2007 Palestinian political division.
Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, 46 death sentences were executed: 44 in the Gaza Strip, and two in the West Bank. Of those executed in the Gaza Strip, 33 were conducted without the ratification of the Palestinian President in violation of Palestinian law.
It is noteworthy that no death sentences have been executed in the West Bank since 2002, and the Palestinian President has not ratified any death sentences since 2005. In this context, PCHR stresses the need to perpetuate the policy of refraining from ratifying death sentences in a prelude to abolishing this punishment from the Palestinian legislations
PCHR reminds the authorities that the Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR is biding to the authorities in Palestine, including the Gaza Strip. Therefore, use of death penalty must stop in a prelude to abolish it from the legislations. PCHR calls on the authorities in the Gaza Strip not to use the death penalty and replace it with a life sentence with hard labor.
PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian President to issue a law by decree to repeal any legal articles in the Palestinian Law that conflict with Palestine’s obligations under the ICCPR Protocol aiming at abolishing the death penalty.