On Monday, 14 June 2021, the Court of First Instance in Gaza City sentenced a 32-year-old man to death by hanging after he was convicted of first-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm.
In a family dispute that broke out on 17 November 2018 in al-Tuffah neighborhood, eastern Gaza City, the man fatally shot Usama Shafik Katee, 37, in the chest and abdomen and a 10-year-old passerby, Abdelrahman Yousuf al-Ghoul, in the neck. Two more people were wounded in the incident, one of them moderately, according to medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that this is the fifth death sentence issued by authorities in the Gaza Strip in 2021 and the twenty-third since the State of Palestine ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which aims at the abolition of the death penalty, in 2019.
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. Al Mezan also 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, especially the ICCPR and its optional protocols.
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. Simultaneously, Al Mezan calls on authorities in Gaza not to proceed with the implementation of the death sentences already issued.