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Military Court in Gaza Sentences a Palestinian to Death and Another to Hard Labor

Ref: 27/2011


On Wednesday, 30 March 2011 The Permanent
Military Court in Gaza sentenced S. I. R, 40, from Nablus to death by hanging. S.
I. R was convicted of collaborating with hostile entities in violation of
Article 153 of the Palestinian Penal Code of 1979 and Article 415 of the Penal
Procedures Code no. 3/2001. S. I. R is currently a fugitive from justice.


The same day the Court sentenced M. S. S., 38,
from al-Naser district in Gaza City to hard labor for life. M. S. S., a member
of 17 force, was found guilty of collaborating with hostile entities in
violation of Articles 153 and 118 of the Penal Code.


On Tuesday, 29 March 2011, W. K. J., 26, from
al-Bureij refugee camp in central the Gaza Strip, was sentenced to death by
hanging after being convicted of collaborating with hostile entities. This is
the second sentence of death issued in two days. According to records
maintained by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) three death
sentences have been issued by civil and military courts in the Gaza Strip this
year. Earlier this year H. F. W., from Gaza City, was sentenced to death
following a conviction for murder. Since 1994, 115 death sentences have been
issued by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).


PCHR notes that the 1979 Revolutionary Penal
Code of the PLO is unconstitutional when applied by the 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
fair trial.


PCHR is extremely concerned over the continued
application of the death penalty in PNA controlled areas, and:  


1. Calls
for the announcement of 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 of Civil and Political Rights 1966, and the UN
Convention against Torture 1984.

2. Reiterates
that the law states that sentencing a person to death is an exclusive right of
the President of the Palestinian National Authority. The Centre calls upon the
President not to ratify such cruel and inhumane sentences.

3. Calls
upon the PNA to stop the application of the Penal Code 1979 because it is

4. Calls
upon the PNA to review all legislation related to the death penalty, especially
Law No. 74 (1936) that remains in effect in the Gaza Strip, and the Jordanian
Penal Code No. 16 (1960) that remains in effect in the West Bank. Furthermore,
PCHR calls upon the PNA to enact a unified penal code that conforms to the
spirit of international human rights instruments, especially those pertaining
to the abolition of the death penalty.

5. Notes
that the call for the abolishment 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.

6. Emphasizes
that the PNA has the right to prosecute alleged traitors for crimes of treason,
including those who collaborate with 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.



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