In light of a new death sentence issued in the Gaza Strip, which is the fifth of its kind in 2015 in the Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled areas, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reiterates its call for the abolishment of death penalty in the PA controlled areas.
On Monday, 24 August 2015, the Permanent Military Court in Gaza City, acting as a court of First Instance, sentenced N. ‘A. A. (37), from al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City, to death by firing squad after convicting him of collaboration with a foreign hostile entity in violation of Article (131) of the 1979 Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code.
Thus, the total number of death sentences issued by the PA since 1994 has risen to 161, of which 133 has been issued in the Gaza Strip and 28 in the West Bank. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 76 have been issued since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. The Palestinian Authority also executed 32 death sentences, of which 30 have been executed in the Gaza Strip and 2 in the West Bank. Among those executed in the Gaza Strip, 19 have been executed since 2007 without ratification by the Palestinian President in violation of the law.
PCHR is gravely concerned over the continued application of the death penalty in Palestinian Authority controlled areas, and:
1. Points out that the call for abolition of the death penalty does not reflect a tolerance for those convicted of serious crimes, but it is based on a moral, philosophical and legal position when considering deterrent penalties that maintain our humanity, especially that this is a non-retractable punishment in case of implementing it. Moreover, it did not prove that it was deterrent to crimes in many countries as it is still applied in the United States and Saudi Arabia etc.; and
2. Stresses that ratification of the implementation of death sentences is an absolute power of the Palestinian President according to the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant laws, and no death sentence can be implemented without such ratification.
3. Calls for an immediate moratorium on the use of such cruel punishment because it violates international human rights, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), and the UN Convention against Torture (1984(;
4. Calls upon the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), if convened, to review all legislations related to the death penalty, 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, 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.