PCHR Calls for End of Death Penalty in Respect for Palestine’s International Obligations, Court of Appeal in Gaza Raises life Imprisonment Sentence to Death
Date: 24 May 2022
Time: 12:00 GMT
On Tuesday, 24 MAy 2022, the Court of Appeal in the Gaza Strip unanimously issued a sentence by hanging against (M. Sh.) (31), from Rafah City, amending a previous life imprisonment sentence issued by the Court of First Instance against the same person after convicting him of the murder of Child (M. Sh.) on 22 April 2019.
PCHR emphasizes its total support with the families of victims and importance of the rule of law, as well as its vehement condemnation of all murder crimes. In the meantime, PCHR denounces the Public Prosecution’s perpetuation to obtain death sentences against the accused persons and the Appeal Court’s responsiveness in this regard by issuing this penalty, which violates Palestine’s international obligations. PCHR underscores that this is the third sentence of its kind this year as there were two former sentences issued by the Court of Appeal to raise life imprisonment to death sentence.
PCHR reiterates that death penalty is not the only mean to achieve justice or deter such crimes; and highlights the fact that Palestine is a State Party to the 1989 Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
Accordingly, the death sentences issued in 2022 in Gaza rise to eight, and one sentence issued by the Military Appeals Court in affirmation of a former death sentence issued by the Military Court of First Instance. The total number of death sentences issued in the Palestinian territory since 1994 reached 260; 30 in the West Bank and 230 in the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 171 sentences were issued after the 2007 Palestinian political division.
Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, 41 death sentences were executed: 39 in the Gaza Strip, and two in the West Bank. Of those executed in the Gaza Strip, 28 were conducted without the ratification of the Palestinian President in violation of Palestinian law. In this context, PCHR stresses the need to refrain from ratifying death sentences in a prelude to abolishing this punishment from the Palestinian legislations.
PCHR reminds the authorities that the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is biding to Palestine, including the Gaza Strip. Therefore, PCHR calls on the authorities in the Gaza Strip not to use the death penalty and replace it with a life sentence with hard labor.
PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian President to issue a law by decree to suspend the use of legal articles related to the death penalty in the Palestinian law that conflicts with Palestine’s obligations under the ICCPR Protocol aiming at abolishing the death penalty.