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Al Mezan Reiterates its Call for Abolition of Death Penalty and Stresses that the Law Employed in Trial Violates Fair Trial Standards

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4 November 2009 |Reference 86/2009

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 in accordance to article (91/b) of the Military Judiciary Law No.
4 of 2008.
As-Sabea was sentenced to death after being convicted of spying and cooperating with a hostile State in contravention to articles (131/a), (134), (140/b) and (148) of the Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.
He was also convicted of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder in violation of articles (378/a) and (88/a) of the Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.
On Tuesday 3 November 2009, the high military court held a public session as an appeal court to examine a previous sentence issued by the permanent military court against As-Sabea.
  The ruling followed an appeal presented by the military prosecution against a previous sentence issued by  the permanent court on 19 July 2009  against As-Sabea after being convicted of 'spying, cooperating with a hostile State and premeditated murder'.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labor in accordance to articles (131/a and 130/b) of the Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestinian liberation Organization of 1979; article (78/1) of the military order No.
(555) of 1959; and article (178/a) and (82) of the Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.
 On Sunday 19 July 2009, the sentence was passed with consensus and was issued publicly against the accused.
According to the law, the sentence is subject to appeal.
  Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights reasserts that the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code 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 abovementioned person and emphasizes that:  The 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.
  That 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 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 accused to use all possible means of self-defense   Accordingly, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights calls on President Mahmoud Abbas to refrain from ratifying this sentence.
Further, Al Mezan calls on the Palestinian National Authority to reconsider Palestinian legislation, and to pass a unified Penal Law that does not include the death penalty and includes procedures which guarantee fair trial standards in front of the Palestinian judiciary.