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ICHR demands stop to death sentences in the Gaza Strip

Graphic: Prison cell door

The Commission says it views with “grave concern” the continued issuance of death sentences by the Military Justice Authority in the Gaza Strip.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) says it views with "grave concern" the continued issuance of death sentences by the Military Justice Authority in the Gaza Strip and violations of the guarantees of a fair trial.

On 3 December 2018, the Standing Military Court of Gaza issued five sentences to death by hanging against Palestinians charged with collaborating with hostile entities and espionage with hostile entities.

Additionally, the Standing Military Court issued a sixth sentence to death by firing squad against a resident of Northern Gaza on charges of collaboration with hostile entities and as an accomplice to murder.

The ICHR said in a statement that it viewed the continued issuance of death sentences "as a decline of human rights, particularly the right to life".

"The ICHR reiterates its position, rejecting capital punishment which constitutes a grave violation of the right to life enshrined in international conventions," the statement said.

"Death penalties constitute a legal violation and breach of trust placed in the State of Palestine after it acceded to international conventions."

Gaza-based courts have issued 15 death sentences since the start of 2018, according to the ICHR.

"The ICHR confirms that the civilians, against whom death sentences were rendered, should have not been brought before military courts.

"Trial before a military court violates a civilian's right to the right to seek redress in the judicial system in line with the standards of fair trial.

While stressing the need to avoid impunity to and maintain security and stability, the ICHR called on relevant executive agencies in Gaza

  • To not carry out any death sentences issued
  • To respect guarantees of a fair trial and prosecute the accused in tandem with applicable legal norms and considerations
  • To respect guarantees of a fair trial and not bring civilians before military courts
  • To comply with the international human rights conventions and instruments, to which the State of Palestine has acceded and signed.

Date: 5 December 2018

Source: Independent Commission on Human Rights

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  1. Prison cell door - APF