Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gaza: Plea not to endorse collaborator's death penalty

132 capital punishment verdicts issued since PNA's establishment in West Bank and Gaza

Human rights organisations in the Palestinian territories have urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to endorse the death sentence passed by the Gaza Military Court against a collaborator with Israel, labelling the sentence 'tough and inhuman'.

The rights organisations have also demanded the suspension of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Revolutionary Penalty Law of 1979, as it is not a constitutional law ratified by the Palestinian parliament.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that all Palestinian laws which lead to capital punishment, including the Penalty Law No 74 of 1936, which is used in the Gaza Strip, and the Jordanian Penalty Law No 16 for 1960 should be reviewed, and the Palestinian leadership should impose a unified penalty law which fits with the spirit of international human rights agreements and conventions.

On Sunday, the Gaza Military Court sentenced 23-year-old Faraj Abed Rabbo Faraj Abed Rabbo to death by hanging on charges of collaborating with the enemy as per article No 131 of the PLO Revolutionary Penalty Law, 1979 and article No 415 of the Palestinian penalty procedural law No 3/2001.

Abed Rabbo is a civilian employee of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and is from the village of Abed Rabbo, east of the Jabaliya Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip.

The organisations said that Abed Rabbo should be sentenced by a civilian court, not a military one and that he should be retried in a civilian court to secure a fair trial.

Concern

The human rights organisations said the capital punishment penalty should be suspended in accordance with international efforts to abolish this punishment and replace it with other penalties that secure justice is served.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights expressed its concern about the capital punishment verdicts issued by the Gaza Permanent Military Court. The commission stressed capital punishment is a serious violation for the right to life secured by the international conventions for human rights. The commission said that it does not undermine the charges and accusations pressed against suspects who should be put on trial to be punished for their crimes, but those suspects should stand before courts which stick to legal procedures to secure justice.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that since the PNA was established in 1994, 132 capital punishment verdicts had been passed. Of these, 106 verdicts were passed in the Gaza Strip and 26 in the West Bank. The centre said that 46 capital punishment verdicts had been passed in Gaza since 2007, since the Islamist Hamas group took control in the coastal strip.

Since that year, 27 capital punishments were implemented in the Palestinian territories, of which 25 were executed in Gaza and two were executed in the West Bank. The centre said that after Hamas took control in Gaza, a total of 14 capital punishment sentences were implemented in Gaza without the official endorsement of the Palestinian president, which is a violation of the law.

Source: Gulf News, March 26, 2013