PCHR Calls for Immediate Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty as a Form of Punishment in the occupied Palestinian territories.The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) renews its demand for the abolishment of the death penalty in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) as Gaza courts issued a second death sentence in 2015.

On Monday, 19 January 2015, the Court of First Instance in Gaza City, acting as a court of appeal, sentenced E. M. A. (24), from al-Maghazi refugee camp in the Central Gaza Strip, to death by hanging after convicting him of shooting and killing M. B. A. (68), from al-Maghazi refugee camp in a family dispute on 15 February 2009.

A first degree court had sentenced the aforementioned to life imprisonment on 9 March 2014, but the Prosecutor appealed the ruling, and the sentence was raised by the Court of Appeal to death.

It should be noted that the defendant was 18 when the first sentence was issued.

This sentence has been the second of its kind in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) since the beginning of 2015 where the first death sentence was issued by a military court in Hebron against (A. L. A.) on 11 January 2015 after convicting him of collaboration with the Israeli forces.

Thus, the total number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian Authority since 1994 has risen to 157, of which 130 have been issued in the Gaza Strip and 27 in the West Bank.

Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 72 have been issued since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The Palestinian Authority also executed 32 death sentences, of which 30 have been executed in the Gaza Strip and 2 in the West Bank.

Among those executed in the Gaza Strip, 19 have been executed since 2007 without ratification by the Palestinian President in violation of the law.

PCHR is gravely concerned over the continued application of the death penalty in Palestinian Authority controlled areas, and:

1. Calls for an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a form of punishment because it violates international human rights standards and instruments, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), and the UN Convention against Torture (1984);

2. Calls for reviewing all legislation related to the death penalty, especially the Penal Law No. 74 (1936) which remains in effect in the Gaza Strip, and the Jordanian Penal Code No. 16 (1960) that is in effect in the West Bank, and enacting a unified penal code that is in line with the spirit of international human rights instruments, especially those pertaining to the abolition of the death penalty;

3. Points out that the call for abolition of the death penalty does not reflect a tolerance for those convicted of serious crimes, but rather a call for utilizing deterrent penalties that maintain our humanity; and

4. Stresses that ratification of the implementation of death sentences is an absolute power of the Palestinian President according to the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant laws, and no death sentence can be implemented without such ratification.