On 26 September 2017, the Court of First Instance in the middle-Gaza town of Deir Al Balah sentenced three men to death by hanging. They were found guilty of murder and burglary. The three men, all residents of Khan Younis, are 38, 54 and 64 years old, respectively. They were in custody on charges of involvement in burglary of the house of Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Massri. The 66-year-old man was found dead after he had been tied and beaten at his home in Deir Al Balah on 1 January 2015.Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses deep concern about the continued issuance of death penalty sentences by courts in Gaza. This trend is contrary to the global attitude, which is leaning towards full abolition of the practice. Capital punishment has been proven an ineffective measure in deterring crime, and thus alternative penalties based on principles of restorative justice must be put in practice instead. It is inhumane and a serious assault on human dignity that must not be allowed to continue.While recognizing the gravity of the alleged crimes and the need for maintaining security of citizens, Al Mezan reaffirms absolute opposition to the application of the death penalty in Palestine, and stresses that security is enhanced not by imposing stricter punishments, but by improved social and economic conditions and respect for human rights and the rule of law, including by the authorities.Al Mezan calls for an immediate halt of death sentences as a first step to abolishing it completely. Al Mezan reiterates that it is time to unify the Palestinian judicial system – a system that must apply harmonized laws that are based on human rights principles and Palestine’s human rights obligations. Al Mezan further reminds that the State of Palestine is a signatory to human rights conventions, and as such must ascertain that all national laws are in compliance with obligations under these conventions.