On Monday morning, 4 October 2021, the Court of First Instance in Gaza City sentenced a 29-year-old man to death by hanging following his conviction for the murder of 35-year-old Wasim Al-Deiri. The indictment also includes illegal possession of a firearm and dangerous ordnance, assault, and causing grievous bodily harm.
Al-Deiri was fatally shot on 8 July 2016 when a family dispute in the Al-Sabra neighborhood turned violent, with the use of firearms reported. Five others, including a woman and a child, were injured in the incident. According to medical personnel at Al-Shifa Hospital, the injuries ranged from minor to moderate.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that this is the seventh death sentence issued by authorities in the Gaza Strip in 2021 and the twenty-fifth since the State of Palestine ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in 2019, which aims at the abolition of the death penalty.
Al Mezan reiterates its criticism of the use of the death penalty, as the practice constitutes a form of inhuman punishment contrary to international legal standards. It is also widely regarded as ineffective in preventing or deterring serious crimes. International law provisions also require states using capital punishment to do so only while maintaining strict compliance with due process rights—a legal caveat that raises further red flags in relation to the courts in Gaza.
Al Mezan recalls that Palestinian authorities in Gaza are obligated to uphold Palestine’s obligations under international human rights law that arise from the State’s accession to international treaties, notably the ICCPR and its Optional Protocol.
Therefore, Al Mezan calls on all competent Palestinian authorities to immediately stop issuing death sentences, to completely abolish the practice, and to comprehensively review and revise relevant laws, in order to ensure compliance with Palestine’s international obligations and human dignity.