On Wednesday morning, 5 October 2016, the Court of First Instance in Khan Younis sentenced N. A., 26, to death by hanging after being convicted of killing her husband, Riyad Abu Anza, resident of Khan Younis. The defendant was convicted of premeditated murder under articles (214, 215, and 216) of the Palestinian Penal Code No. 74 of 1936. The public prosecution had detained N.A. after the dead body of Abu Anza was found in the vacant area in the former settlements area in west Khan Younis. Evidence of wounds marked different parts of his body. N.A. confessed to committing the crime for reasons relating to domestic dispute.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) views with grave concern the continued application of the death penalty sentences in the Gaza Strip despite the universal, urgent trend to abolish the practice. While recognizing the gravity of alleged crimes, Al Mezan fully opposes the application of the death penalty in all instances. The death penalty does not deter crime, and its application amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Further, Al Mezan reasserts that the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code, according to which death sentences are issued, does not guarantee a fair trial, which raises additional, critical concerns, and notably regarding sentences that are irrevocable.
Al Mezan reasserts its principled rejection of the issuance of death sentences. Al Mezan calls for a halt to the execution of the death penalty as a first step towards abolishing the practice. The relevant Palestinian laws must be amended to include other penalties. This turnaround must be achieved as a part of Palestinian internal reconciliation.