On Sunday, 18 October 2020, the First Instance Court in Gaza City sentenced three men to death by hanging after they were convicted of the murders of Abdelmalek Abu Middain, 45, and Naser Abu Middain, 49, as well as attempted murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and destruction of property.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that this is the thirteenth death sentence issued in the Gaza Strip in 2020 and the fourteenth since the State of Palestine ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, on 18 March 2019.
Notably, this sentence was delivered just weeks after Gaza’s High Judicial Council (HJC) announced a new plan to speed up judicial proceedings and trials in ongoing murder cases. Al Mezan is concerned that the HJC’s decision might undermine the defendant's right to a fair trial.
While condemning all serious crimes and acts of murder, Al Mezan persists in denouncing the use of the death penalty, which is considered ineffective in preventing or discouraging serious crimes and to be an inhuman form of punishment.
Al Mezan recalls that the authorities in Gaza must uphold Palestine’s obligations under international human rights law arising from the State’s accession to international treaties, especially the ICCPR and its Second Optional Protocol, and therefore calls on the competent Palestinian authorities to immediately stop issuing death sentences, to completely abolish the death penalty, and to comprehensively review and revise relevant laws in order to ensure their compliance with Palestine’s international obligations.