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Press Release: Al Mezan expresses grave concern at incessant issuance of death sentences in Gaza

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21 October 2021 |Reference 92/2021

On Wednesday morning, 20 October 2021, the Permanent Military Court—a body of the military judiciary in the Gaza Strip—sentenced a 57-year-old man to death by hanging following his conviction for espionage for foreign powers; the man has been in custody since 21 April 2019. The Court based its ruling on Article 131 of the Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979 by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).


Recently, the Court issued several other death sentences, thus raising the number issued by authorities in Gaza to 13 in 2021 alone and 31 since 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 recalls that Palestinian authorities in Gaza are obligated to uphold Palestine’s obligations that arise from the State’s accession to international treaties, notably the ICCPR and its Optional Protocol. Further, any law or act that is not part of the Palestinian National Authority’s legislative system is unconstitutional.  


Al Mezan is gravely concerned about the incessant issuance of death sentences by the military judiciary in the Gaza Strip, which continues despite the global trend towards universal abolition of capital punishment. The practice is considered ineffective in preventing or deterring serious crime.   


To this end, Al Mezan urges the competent authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its definitive abolition. The authorities must also seek to rebuild the Palestinian political system and ensure that all legislation is consistent with Palestine’s international obligations and human dignity.


Note: the military judiciary in the Gaza Strip issued another death sentence at the time of publication. Al Mezan is currently gathering information about that incident and will release information soon.