Ref: 47/2014

 

On Wednesday, 07 May 2014,
the Ministry of Interior implemented two death sentences against 2 Palestinians
after the competent courts had convicted them of collaboration with foreign
hostile entities, without the ratification of the Palestinian President in
violation of law.  The first sentence was
implemented against (‘A. H. K.) (30) from Khan Yunis by firing squad in the
“Ansar” Security Compound after convicting him of collaboration by the
Permanent Military Court on 13 September 2010 and upholding the death sentence
by the Supreme Military Court on 05 December 2013.  The second sentence was implemented by
hanging in al-Katibah central prison in Gaza against (Z. A. R.) (41) from Gaza
after the Court of Appeal in the city convicted him of collaboration on 08
December 2013.  The Court issued the
ruling to implement the death sentence after the Public Prosecution had
appealed the decision by the first instance to imprison him for 20 years.  Those sentences are considered the first two
ones implemented in the Gaza Strip in 2014 as the last death sentence was
implemented in Gaza on 02 October 2013.  

 

Thus, the number of death
sentences implemented by the Gaza Government has amounted to 19 since 2007,
including 10 death sentences that were based on charges of collaboration with
foreign parties and 9 death sentences that were based on criminal cases
(murders). All sentences were implemented without the ratification of the
Palestinian President in violation of the law.  The total number of death sentences executed
since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994 is now 32.

 

In light of the above:

 

1. PCHR
Emphasizes that the PA 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.

2. PCHR
confirms that the ratification of death sentences is an exclusive power of the
President of the PNA under the Code of Criminal Procedures (3) of 2001, and the
implementation of death sentences without the President’s ratification
constitutes a violation of the law and constitution.

3. 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.

4. PCHR
emphasizes that 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;
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 maintain our humanity.