Ref: 58/2013


On Thursday, 30 May 2013, the Permanent Military Court
sentenced (Z. M. M.), 63, a civilian from al-Shati’ refugee camp in the west of
Gaza City, to death by hanging after convicting him of collaboration with
hostile parties according to the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.


According to PCHR’s documentation, this is the fourth
death sentence to be issued in 2013, of which 3 were issued in the Gaza Strip
and 1 in the West Bank.  Thus, the total
number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)
has risen to 136 sentences since 1994, of which 109 have been issued in the
Gaza Strip and 27 in the West Bank. 
Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 48 sentences have been issued
since 2007.  The PNA also executed 27, of
which 25 have been executed in the Gaza Strip and 2 in the West Bank.  Among those executed in the Gaza Strip, 14
have been executed since 2007 without ratification of the Palestinian President
in violation of the law. 


In light of the above, Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights (PCHR) stresses the following:


1- It
should be noted that the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code of the 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.

2- Each
Palestinian has the right to appear before the judge according to article 30 of
the Palestinian Basic Law, which provides that “Submitting a case to court is a
protected and guaranteed right for all people. Each Palestinian shall have the
right to seek redress in the judicial system.”


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- Calls
for an end to such implementation of the PLO Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979
because it is unconstitutional;

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;

5- 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
maintaining standards of humanity.  PCHR
also reiterates that its stance against the death penalty is a professional
opinion based on legal and ethical standards.