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Al Mezan condemns the issuance of a new death sentence in Gaza and calls for the complete abolition of this practice

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25 August 2022 |Reference 50/2022

On Wednesday morning, 24 August 2022, the Supreme Criminal Chamber of the Court of First Instance in Gaza sentenced a 22-year-old man resident of Gaza City to death by hanging, following his conviction for the premeditated murder of 21-year-old Asem Rafiq al-Areir, on 9 March 2021.


This ruling brings the number of death sentences issued since the beginning of 2022 to 15, and 49 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 Center for Human Rights condemns the continuous issuance of death sentences in the Gaza Strip and reiterates its strongest criticism of the use of this practice, which constitutes a form of inhuman punishment contrary to international legal standards. Also, this punishment violates Palestine’s obligations under international human rights law that arise from the State’s accession to international treaties, including, ICCPR, its Second Optional Protocol, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).


Notably, during its first review of the State of Palestine’s implementation of CAT, the UN Committee Against Torture called on Palestine to “take affirmative steps to formalize the moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing the death penalty in law in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” and to “intensify its efforts to commute all death sentences into alternative penalties, ensure that conditions of detention for condemned prisoners do not constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment, strengthen legal safeguards and guarantees of due process in all phases of the proceedings and concerning all offences and take all possible measures to prohibit military courts from exercising jurisdiction over civilians in the Gaza Strip.”


Al Mezan echoes the call of the Committee Against Torture and further calls on all competent Palestinian authorities to immediately stop issuing death sentences, completely abolish the practice, and apply more efficient punishments in compliance with Palestine’s international obligations.