OHCHR: Gaza Death Sentences Illegal
Ramallah – 23 May 2017 - OHCHR oPt has expressed its deepest concern at three death sentences issued by a military court in Gaza on 21 May 2017. Carrying out these sentences would amount to an arbitrary deprivation of life in violation of international law.
The three men were convicted of involvement in the killing of Hamas leader Mr. Mazen Al Faqhaa on 24 March 2017 and tried on charges of "collaboration with an enemy party" and "murder or accessory to murder”. The special “field military court” was constituted solely for this trial, the first such instance since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.
The conviction and sentence of a “field military court” are final, allowing no possibility of appeal or plea for clemency, in violation of international law. International law sets very stringent conditions for the application of the death penalty, including meticulous compliance with international fair trial standards. These trials do not appear to meet these minimum standards.
We urge authorities in Gaza not to carry out the death sentences of these three men, to refrain from carrying out further executions and to curb the practice of trying civilians before military courts.
OHCHR opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. We call on the State of Palestine to immediately establish an official moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition.
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