On Monday, 7 June 2021, the Court of First Instance in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, sentenced a 55-year-old in absentia to death by hanging, following his conviction for the murder of his brother on 29 December 2001.
According to the indictment, the man deliberately killed the victim by attacking him in his store with a flammable substance, thereby inflicting severe burn wounds on his body that led to his death.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that this is the fourth death sentence issued by authorities in the Gaza Strip in 2021 and the twenty-second 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 reiterates its criticism of the use of the death penalty, as the practice constitutes a form of inhuman punishment contrary to international legal standards. It is also widely regarded as ineffective in preventing or deterring serious crimes. Al Mezan also recalls that Palestinian authorities in Gaza are obligated to uphold Palestine’s obligations under international human rights law that arise from the State’s accession to international treaties, especially the ICCPR and its optional protocols.
Therefore, Al Mezan calls on all competent Palestinian authorities to immediately stop issuing death sentences, to completely abolish the practice, and to comprehensively review and revise relevant laws in order to ensure compliance with Palestine’s international obligations. Simultaneously, Al Mezan calls on authorities in Gaza not to proceed with the implementation of the death sentences already issued.