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Al Mezan staunchly denounces the issuance of two death sentences in Gaza, one of which followed a trial in absentia

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9 March 2023 |Reference 18/2023

On Thursday, 9 March 2023, the Permanent Military Court in Gaza issued two death sentences by hanging. The first death sentence was handed down to a 65-year-old man convicted of drug trafficking in violation of Article 28(1) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act No. 7 of 2013, following a trial in absentia. The second death sentence was issued against a 47-year-old man convicted of collaboration with hostile entities, in violation of Article 131 the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.

These are respectively the second and third death sentences issued by the Gaza judiciary since the beginning of 2023. As a result, the total number of death sentences issued 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, rises to 61.

Al Mezan remains deeply concerned about the continued issuance of death sentences in the Gaza Strip and reiterates its strongest condemnation of this practice, which constitutes a form of inhuman punishment in violation of international legal standards. This punishment also violates Palestine’s obligations under international human rights law arising 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). Moreover, this punishment is widely regarded as ineffective at deterring or preventing serious crime.

Al Mezan calls on all competent Palestinian 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.