Date: 11 March 2009
Time: 09:30 GMT
Military Court in Gaza Sentences 3 Palestinians to Death;
PCHR Calls upon Palestinian President Not to Ratify the Sentence and Demands Abolition of Death Penalty in OPT
On Tuesday, 10 March 2009, the Military Court in Gaza sentenced 3 Palestinians from al-Shoja’eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City to death. The three Palestinians were convicted of murdering Fawzi Jameel Kamel ‘Ajjour, 40, a money changer, on 4 October 2008.
The court convicted the first defendant, ‘Aamer Saber Hussein Jundiya, a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces, of kidnapping the victim for the purpose of killing him, in violation of article 256 and 254 of the Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, and of deliberate killing, in violation of article 378b and 82a of the Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) of 1979. The court according sentenced ‘Aamer Jundiya to death by firing squad, convicted the two other defendants, Salem ‘Ali Jundiya and Mo’men Hussein Jundiya, of deliberate killing and sentenced them both to death by firing squad.
PCHR notes that the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code of the PLO is unconstitutional in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) as it has not been presented to, nor approved by, the legislature. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has repeatedly called for its abolition as it violates international standards of fair trial and does not include fair and independent mechanisms for appealing against court sentences.
PCHR is extremely concerned over the continued application of the death penalty in the PNA controlled areas, and therefore:
1. Calls upon the PNA to announce an immediate moratorium on the use of this form of punishment, which violates international human rights standards and instruments, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (1966), and the UN Convention against Torture (1984).
2. Calls upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to ratify these cruel and inhumane sentences, and to prevent its implementation.
3. Reiterates that abolishing the death penalty does imply leniency towards dangerous criminals, who must be subjected to punishment that acts as a deterrent, but also maintains human dignity.
4. Calls upon the PNA to review all legislation relative to the death penalty, especially Law No. 74 (1936) that remains effective in the Gaza Strip, and the Jordanian Penal Code No. 16 (1960) that remains effective in the West Bank, and 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.