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Gaza Government Executes Two Men in Violation of Palestinian Legal Procedures

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15 April 2010

In the morning hours of Thursday 15 April 2010, the Gaza government executed Nasir Abu Farij and Mohammed Ismail who had both been sentenced to death.
Their two bodies were admitted to Shifa Hospital in Gaza city.
   The Gazan Ministry of Interior published on its website a statement from the chairman of the military judicial council, Colonel Ahmed Attala, saying that: “Today in the morning hours, the death sentence against two persons who had been convicted of spying had been executed.
 This execution followed all legal procedures.
 This execution came after the Gazan Minster of Interior had issued a press statement.
”       On Sunday 22 February 2010, the High Military Court in the Gaza Strip sentenced Nasir Salama Mohammed Abu Frij, 34, who lives in the Al Kashif mountain area in North Gaza District, to death by firing squad.
He was sentenced to death after being convicted of spying.
  On 4 November 2009, the High Military Court in the Gaza Strip sentenced Mohammed Ibrahim Ahmed Ismail As-Sabea, 36, from Rafah Town to death.
He was sentenced to death by hanging.
As-Sabea was sentenced to death after being convicted of spying, cooperating with a hostile State and complicity in premeditated murder.
  According to information available to the undersigned organizations, Palestinian courts have handed down 68 death sentences since 1994, following the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
14 sentences were executed, 12 of which were executed in the Gaza Strip.
  The High Military Court in the Gaza Strip in its sentencing has used the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
The undersigned organizations reassert that the 1979 Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code is unconstitutional as it does not constitute a part of the PNA’s legal system and has not been debated and ratified by the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Moreover, many of its provisions breach relevant international standards and do not incorporate fair and independent mechanisms for the appeal of sentences.
  The 2001 Palestinian Code of Criminal Procedure No.
3, stipulates that the Palestinian President must approve the execution of each death sentence.
This is according to article 409 that states: “The death sentence shall not be executed without the ratification of the State President”.
  According to article 408 of this law, after the court has passed a death sentence, the Minister of Justice should give the file to the President for his approval before the death sentence can be carried out.
     Article 410 of the same law determines how the executions will be carried out and which authorized bodies should observe the execution.
The Palestinian Military Law also asserts that the high commander of the armed forces, i.
the President, must ratify the execution of the death sentence.
        The undersigned organizations oppose the death penalty as it violates the right to life which is the most basic and fundamental of all human rights.
The undersigned organizations also condemn the execution of the death sentence by the Gaza Government, which has flouted Palestinian law that prohibits the execution of death penalty sentences without the approval of the Palestinian President.
The undersigned organizations emphasize that the convicted persons committed very dangerous crimes and they should be brought to justice.
The undersigned organizations emphasize that:   1.
       The 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization is not legally constituted by the Palestinian National Authority; therefore it is not part of its legal regime.
The death penalty constitutes a violation of the right to life, which is a basic and fundamental human right that cannot be derogated from even at times of emergency.
That the death penalty is not an effective deterrent in comparison to other penalties, and it is a cruel and inhumane punishment that does not realize criminal or humanitarian principles aimed at rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
       The provisions of the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code violate fair trial standards especially the right to a trial in front of a competent, impartial and independent court constituted by law in which all guarantees are made to enable the accused to use all possible means of self-defense.
       The execution of death sentences violates the Palestinian Law which stipulates the approval of the Palestinian presidents of the sentence orders to be executed.
  The undersign organizations call on the Gaza Government to stop executing death sentences against convicted persons.
Ends   Signatories ·         AL Dameer Association for Human Rights ·         Gaza Community Mental Health Programme ·         Al Haq Institution ·         The Palestinian Center for the Independence of Judiciary and Legal Profession- MUSAWA ·         The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights- PICHR ·         Al Mezan Center for Human Rights