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Observations on communications transmitted to Governments and
*The present document is being circulated in the languages of submission only.
1. The present document is submitted by the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, to the Human Rights Council, pursuant to its resolution 16/23.
2. In the present addendum, the Special Rapporteur provides observations, where considered appropriate, on communications sent to States between 1 December 2011 and 30 November 2012 , as well as on responses received from States in relation to these communications until 31 January 2013. Communications sent and responses received during the reporting period are accessible electronically through hyperlinks.
3. The Special Rapporteur acknowledges the receipt of additional responses from States through to 31 January 2013 in relation to the joint study on global practices in relation to secret detention in the context of countering terrorism (A/HRC/13/42). The current report does not comment on the substance of responses received so far to the joint study on secret detention. Subject to agreement with the other mandate-holders responsible for that joint report, and after more responses are received, a special report on those contributions will be issued.
4. The Special Rapporteur is grateful to all States which have transmitted responses to communications sent. He considers response to his communications an important part of cooperation by States with his mandate. In this context, the Special Rapporteur recalls paragraph 6(a) of the Human Rights Council resolution 16/23 which urges States to “cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his or her task, to supply all necessary information requested by him or her and to fully and expeditiously respond to his or her urgent appeals, and urges those Governments that have not yet responded to communications transmitted to them by the Special Rapporteur to answer without further delay.”
5. The communications and the relevant replies can also be accessed via the encorporated links or in the communications reports of Special Procedures A/HRC/23/51 (communications sent, 1 December 2012 to 28 February 2013; replies received, 1 February 2012 to 30 April 2012); A/HRC/24/21 (communications sent, 1 March to 31 May 2013; replies received, 1 May to 31 July 2013) and A/HRC/25/74 (communications sent, 1 June to 30 November 2013; replies received, 1 August 2013 to 31 January 2014).
II. Observations by the Special Rapporteur
Palestine (State of)
(a) UA 20/08/2013 Case No. OTH 7/2013 Reply: None to date Alleged risk of execution in the Gaza Strip of Mr. Hani Mohammed Abu Aliyan, the case of Mr. Faraj Abed Rabu, and the execution in June 2013 of Messrs. Emad Mahmoud Abu Ghalyoun and Husein Youssef Mohammad El Khatib.
117. The Special Rapporteur regrets that the de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip have not responded to this communication, thereby failing to cooperate with the mandate issued by the Human Rights Council. The communication referred to the alleged risk of execution of Mr. Hani Mohammed Abu Aliyan, the case of Mr. Faraj Abed Rabu, and the execution of Messrs. Emad Mahmoud Abu Ghalyoun and Husein Youssef Mohammad El Khatib in June 2013. It was reported that Mr. Abu Aliyan was convicted in May 2010 in two separate cases of homicide and is at particular risk of execution. Reportedly, the first case involved a charge of unintentional homicide, for which Mr. Abu Aliyan is alleged to have self-reported at the Khan Younis police station. The second case reportedly involves the rape and killing of a six-year-old in 2000; it was reported that Mr. Abu Aliyan was a minor at the time of the alleged offence. Mr. Abu Aliyan was reportedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment during interrogation, which resulted in a confession to the crimes involved in the second case. Mr. Faraj Abed Rabu, sentenced to death for charges of collaboration with an enemy entity, was allegedly forced to sign his confession after having been tortured during the interrogation process. It was also reported that Mr. Emad Mahmoud Abu Ghalyoun and Mr. Husein Youssef Mohammad El Khatib were executed on 22 June 2013 following charges of “collaborating with the enemy”. Both men were allegedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment with the aim of forcing a confession. It was reported that at least 35 individuals are currently at risk of execution in the Gaza Strip and that the de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip have executed at least 16 individuals since 2009. It is further alleged that death sentences in the Gaza Strip are frequently imposed by military courts, including the trying of civilians, the procedures of which do not comply with international human rights standards of fair trial and due process. The Special Rapporteur expresses concern that the death penalty is imposed and carried out by the de facto authorities of Gaza in contravention of international human rights standards. The death penalty is imposed after proceedings that do not comply with fair trial and due process safeguards and after subjecting the defendants to torture or ill-treatment. As stated in his report to the General Assembly (A/67/279; 9 August 2012), the Special Rapporteur finds that even if the emergence of a customary norm that considers the death penalty as per se running afoul of the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is still under way, most conditions under which capital punishment is actually applied renders the punishment tantamount to torture. Under many other, less severe conditions, it still amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Both of those serious violations are involved in capital punishment as applied in the Gaza strip. The Special Rapporteur calls on the de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip to undertake a prompt and independent investigation into the alleged torture and execution of Mr. Emad Mahmoud Abu Ghalyoun and Mr. Husein Youssef Mohammad El Khatib, leading to prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators, and to provide full redress to the victim’s family. The Special Rapporteur also calls on the de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip to take persistent, determined and effective measures to have all allegations of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment investigated promptly, effectively and impartially by an independent, competent domestic authority, as well as whenever there is reasonable ground to believe that such an act has been committed; to hold persons who encourage, order, tolerate or perpetrate such acts responsible, to have them brought to justice and punished in a manner commensurate with the gravity of the offence, including the officials in charge of the place of detention where the prohibited act is found to have been committed according to paragraph 7b of the Human Rights Council Resolution 16/23.