Ref: 27/2012


On Wednesday, 29 February 2012, the Court of
Cassation in Gaza rejected an appeal filed by M.J.A. and confirmed the death
sentence by hanging issued against him by Khan Yunis Court of First Instance on
24 November 2010, after he was convicted for abduction and murder, in
accordance with the Penal Law No. 74 of 1936. 
It should be noted that on 02 November 2011, the Court of Appeals in
Gaza had upheld the death sentence issued by the Khan Yunis Court of First
Instance.  Counselor ‘Abdul Ra’ouf
al-Halabi, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Gaza, pointed out in a press
statement issued on Thursday, 01 March 2012, that the death sentence had become


According to PCHR’s documentation, this is the
fourth 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 under 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

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 humanity.