USA | Parkland Case Challenges Us All to Figure Out What a Mass Murderer Deserves

The ongoing sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, the 23-year-old Florida man who in 2018 murdered fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, will test whether the seven men and five women on the jury hearing his case can hate the sin but muster the courage to spare the life of the sinner. That is exactly what his defense team is asking them to do as they sit in judgment of the person who perpetrated one of this country’s most brutal mass murders. Like many death penalty defense lawyers before them, Cruz’s lawyers, to their credit, have not downplayed the gravity of the horrors their client inflicted in Parkland, Florida. Instead, during the sentencing trial, or what the journalist Dahlia Lithwick once called a “trial of the heart,” they have focused their attention on who Cruz is and the factors that shaped his life. As the Supreme Court said more than fifty years ago, in capital cases those who impose the sentence must consider “

New Death Sentence in Gaza: PCHR Demands Immediate End for Death Sentences in Gaza

On Sunday, 18 September 2022, the Higher Crime Committee in the Gaza Strip issued a death sentence against (S.B.) a resident of Deir Al-Balah after he was convicted of murder of (A.B.) in a family dispute that took place on 26 August 2021.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reaffirms its condemnation of all murder crimes and its total support with the families of victims and their right to remedy. In the meantime, PCHR reiterates that death penalty is not the only mean to achieve justice or deter such crimes and highlights the fact that Palestine is a State Party to the 1989 Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

Accordingly, the death sentences issued in 2022 in Gaza rise to 18, including 3 issued by military courts and 5 sentences issued in affirmation of former death sentences by Appeal Court. The total number of death sentences issued in the Palestinian territory since 1994 reached 271; 30 in the West Bank and 241 in the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 181 sentences were issued after the 2007 Palestinian political division.

Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, 46 death sentences were executed: 44 in the Gaza Strip, and two in the West Bank. Of those executed in the Gaza Strip, 33 were conducted without the ratification of the Palestinian President in violation of Palestinian law. In this context, PCHR stresses the need to refrain from ratifying death sentences in a prelude to abolishing this punishment from the Palestinian legislations.

PCHR stresses that the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is biding to Palestine, including the Gaza Strip. Therefore, PCHR calls on the authorities in the Gaza Strip not to use the death penalty and replace it with a life sentence with hard labor.

PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian President to issue a law by decree to suspend the use of legal articles related to the death penalty in the Palestinian that conflict with Palestine’s obligations under the ICCPR Protocol aiming at abolishing the death penalty.

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Source: pchrgaza.org, Staff, September 20, 2022

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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