Ref: 77/2018

On 26 July 2018, Gaza Court of First Instance issued 2 death sentences by hanging against (G. H.) and (Z. Q.) from Gaza City, after being convicted of participation in murder. This sentence comes after Palestine’s signing the instrument of its accession to the Additional Protocol of the 1989 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in last June.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns issuing death sentences, especially in light of absence of fair trial guarantees in the Gaza Strip. PCHR reiterates is calls upon the Palestinian President to issue a Presidential decree to halt the death penalty until pending the necessary amendments in the local laws.

It should be noted that this sentence is the second to be issued against a woman in the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a previous one was issued against a woman in 2016, but it was not executed yet.

In 2018, the number of death sentences issued has so far risen to 5 sentences, 4 of them were issued by courts of first instance, and one was issued by the Court of Appeal, upholding a previous sentence. Thus, the total number of death sentences issued in the PA controlled areas has risen to 207 since 1994, 30 of which have been issued in the West Bank and 177 in the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 119 sentences have been issued since 2007.

Since the establishment of the PA, 41 death sentences were applied, 39 of which were in the Gaza Strip and two in the West Bank. Among the sentences applied in the Gaza Strip, 28 were applied since 2007 without the ratification of the Palestinian President in violation of the law.

PCHR express its continued condemnation of such inhuman punishment in light of absence of fair trial guarantees and calls upon the judiciary in Gaza not to use such  sentence until it is abolished in the necessary legal form.

PCHR calls upon the Palestinian President to make immediate amendments in the Penal Codes applicable in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 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. PCHR retreats is calls to halt the application of 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code as it is unconstitutional.