On Sunday 24 May 2009, the Permanent Military Court in the Gaza Strip sentenced three persons from the Gaza Strip to death by firing squad.
The court issued a verdict of death by firing squad in presence to Shadi Khader Deeb Ahmed, 30, and in absentia to Shadi Abdul Kareem al-Madhoun, 28, and Ra'ed Sabri al-Maqqousi, 28.
They are all from Beit Lahiya town in the northern Gaza Strip.
They were sentenced to death after being convicted of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, carrying-out terrorist acts and kidnapping in contravention of the Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979 of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Penal Code (74) of 1936.
The ruling was issued unanimously and publicly against all of the accused persons for the kidnap and murder of two journalists – Mohammed 'Abdu and Suleiman al-'Ashi who were working at Palestine Newspaper in Gaza City in May 2007.
By law, the sentence is subject to ratification and appeal.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights notes that the Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979 is unconstitutional as it does not constitute a part of the Palestinian National Authority's (PNA) 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.
Al Mezan is gravely concerned about the sentencing to death of the three abovementioned persons and calls on: · The PNA to review Palestinian legislation which includes the death penalty and especially the Palestinian Penal Code (74) of 1936 which is in force in the Gaza Strip · The PNA to enact a unified penal code which does not include the death penalty and guarantees fair trial standards · The President of the PNA to not ratify any death sentence.