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Deeply concerned by the continued issuance of death sentences in Gaza, Al Mezan urges the complete abolition of this practice

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15 August 2023 |Reference 50/2023

Justice palace complexJustice palace complex

Al Mezan follows with great concern the high number of death sentences recently issued by the Gaza judiciary, with nearly half of the death sentences handed down in all of 2023 having been issued in the last 10 days. We firmly insist that the death penalty is a form of inhumane punishment in breach of international legal standards that must be abolished at once.

On Sunday, 6 August 2023, Gaza’s Military Court of Appeal issued five death sentences by hanging against five persons convicted of collaboration with hostile entities in violation of Article 131 of the 1979 Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code. Specifically, with these sentences, the Military Court of Appeals increased the penalties from years in prison to death by hanging.

One week later, on Sunday, 13 August 2023, the same court issued another death sentence by hanging against a 46-year-old man convicted of collaboration with hostile entities. In this case, the sentence was increased from 15 years in prison to a death sentence.

These last rulings bring to 14 the number of death sentences handed down by Gaza's judiciary since the beginning of 2023 and to 72 since the State of 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 remains deeply concerned about the continued issuance of death sentences in the Gaza Strip, carried out in violation of the State of Palestine’s obligations under international human rights law arising from its accession to international treaties, including the ICCPR, its Second Optional Protocol, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).

Al Mezan calls on local authorities to immediately halt the use of the death penalty, abolish it completely, and replace it with more efficient punishments in compliance with Palestine’s international obligations.