Human rights groups attack death sentence for accused collaborator in Gaza
Two news reports, Ma’an and Gulf News, are followed by a statement by PCHR and some useful links.
Photo of the notorious incident when a group of gunmen shot dead six suspected collaborators on the street then rode off on a triumphant circuit dragging the body of one of them through Gaza City on Nov. 20, 2012. Photo by Suhaib Salem/Reuters
By Ma’an news
March 24/26 2013
GAZA CITY — A military court in Gaza on Sunday sentenced a man convicted of collaborating with Israel to death by hanging.
The suspect has been imprisoned since Aug. 11, 2011.
The Hamas government in Gaza announced its latest campaign to crack down on collaboration with Israel earlier in March.
Palestinian collaboration with Israel is an extremely sensitive issue in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with information passed to Israel’s security services often being used to make arrests and assassinate political and militant figures.
Gaza courts have handed out over 30 death sentences since 2007, many of them to people convicted of helping Israeli security forces.
The last high-profile execution of collaborators took place in Gaza during Israel’s assault on the coastal territory last November.
Gunmen shot dead six alleged collaborators and chained the body of one of them to a motorcycle before dragging it throughout the main streets of Gaza City.
A Ma’an review of publicly available records as well as interviews with experts in Gaza showed that all of the men had been in the custody of the Hamas government for months and in one case years before Israel launched its “Pillar of Cloud” operation, and were not caught “red-handed” as security officials had said at the time.
132 capital punishment verdicts issued since PNA’s establishment in West Bank and Gaza
By Nasouh Nazzal, Gulf news
March 26, 2013
Ramallah: 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 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.
March 24, 2013
On Sunday, 24 March 2013, the Military Court in Gaza City sentenced F.A.A. (23), a civilian servant from the northern Gaza Strip town of Jabalya, to death by hanging. The court convicted F.A.A. of spying in favor of an enemy entity, in violation of the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.
According to PCHR’s documentation, this sentence is the first of its kind in 2013. Thus, the number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian Authority (PA) since its establishment in 1994 is 132, including 106 death sentences issued in the Gaza Strip and 26 in the West Bank; 46 of these sentences have been issued since 2007. Of these sentences, 27 have been executed, including 25 in the Gaza Strip and 2 in the West Bank. Since 2007, 14 death sentences have been executed in the Gaza Strip without the Palestinian President’s ratification, in violation of the law.
PCHR notes that the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is unconstitutional when applied by the PNA as it has not been presented to, nor approved by, the legislature. Since 1995, PCHR has also repeatedly called for its abolition, as it violates the international standards for a fair trial.
PCHR is extremely concerned about the continued application of the death penalty in PNA controlled areas, and:
1. Calls for the announcement of an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a form of punishment as it violates international human rights standards and instruments, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 and the UN Convention against Torture of 1984.
2. Calls upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to ratify such cruel and inhuman punishment.
3. Calls for the PLO Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979 to no longer be applied as it is unconstitutional.
4. Calls for a review of all legislations related to the death penalty, especially Law No. 74 (1936), which remains in effect in the Gaza Strip, and the Jordanian Penal Code No. 16 (1960), which remains in effect in the West Bank, and the enactment of a unified penal code that conforms to the spirit of international human rights instruments, especially those pertaining to the abolition of the death penalty.
5. Points out that a call for the abolishment of the death penalty does not reflect a tolerance for those convicted of serious crimes, but rather is a call for utilizing deterrent penalties that maintain our humanity.
6. Emphasizes that the Palestinian Authority has the right to prosecute alleged traitors for crimes of treason, including those who collaborate with occupation authorities. However, PCHR highlights the rights of each person to a fair trial conducted in accordance with accepted legal standards. Any penalty imposed must serve as a deterrent, while also maintaining standards of humanity. PCHR also reiterates that its stance against the death penalty is a professional opinion based on legal and ethical standards.
PCHR position on collaborators Position paper, 2002.
Death Penalty in the Palestinian Authority and Under Hamas Control BTselem report
Hamas disputes report on its abuse of human rights JfJfP
Amnesty condemns lack of fair trial in further executions in Gaza
Three men executed by Hamas, UN and EU condemn
Palestinian Authority Report by Amnesty, includes Gaza/Hamas
Hamas urges collaborators to hand themselves in, Ma’an news