Ref: 21/2012


On Thursday, 16
February 2012, the Gaza Court of Cassation rejected an appeal submitted by
Mohammed Ahmed Baraka, 49, from the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah,
who was sentenced by Deir al-Balah Court of First Instance on 30 May 2010 to
death by hanging.  Baraka, whose death
sentence was upheld by the Court, was convicted of murder in accordance with
the Penal Code of 1936.


According to
PCHR’s documentation, this is the third death sentence to be upheld in the Gaza
Strip since the beginning of 2012. 


It is worth
noting that the total number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian
National Authority (PNA) has risen to 124 sentences since 1994, of which 25
have been issued in the West Bank, and 99 in the Gaza Strip.  Of those
issued in the Gaza Strip, 38 sentences have been issued since 2007. 


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, as it constitutes a violation of
international human rights laws and standards, 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 upon Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas not to ratify such cruel and inhuman punishment;

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; and

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 preserve our