On Monday 10 October
2011, the Permanent Military Court in Jenin in the northern West Bank sentenced
Waheed ‘Atta Yaseen, 23, to death by firing squad. Yaseen is from Deir Abu
Da’if, a village east of Jenin, and is a member of the Palestinian Presidential
Guard. The Court’s Judges, Lieutenant Colonel Tawfiq Abu Nasser as Chairperson
and Majors Rami Taqqaq and ‘Allam Dalbah, convicted Yaseen of murder in
accordance with the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.
issued the sentence against Yaseen in his presence. The sentence can be appealed and is subject
to the ratification by the Palestinian President. Yaseen was convicted of the murder of Mahmoud
Sami Hassoun, 45, from Jenin, who had a pawn shop for jewelry in the center of
Jenin, until he was killed on 20 March 2011.
According to Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) documentation, this sentence is the sixth of
its kind in 2011; two of which were issued in the West Bank and four in the
Gaza Strip. Thus, the total number of
death sentences issued by the Palestinian Authority has mounted to 118
sentences since 1994, of which 25 were issued in the West Bank and 93 in the
Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the
Gaza Strip, 32 sentences were issued since 2007.
It should be
noted that the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) is unconstitutional when implemented by the Palestinian National
Authority (PNA), as it has not been presented to, nor approved by the
legislature. Since 1995, PCHR has also repeatedly called for its
abolition as it violates international standards of a fair trial.
PCHR is gravely
concerned over the continued application of the death penalty in PNA controlled
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 upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to ratify such
cruel and inhuman punishment.
3. Calls for an end to such implementation of the PLO Revolutionary
Penal Code of 1979 because it is unconstitutional.
4. Calls for reviewing all legislations 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
5. Points out that the call for the 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.