Second Sentence to Death by Hanging by Court in Gaza in Four Days

woman murderedOn Sunday morning, 9 October 2016, the Court of First Instance in Khan Younis sentenced T. L., 42, to death by hanging after being convicted of killing Dalia Mustafa Abu Ghraba, 12, resident of Khan Younis. The defendant was convicted of premeditated murder under articles (214, 215, and 216) of the Palestinian Penal Code No. 74 of 1936. Four others were sentenced to time in prison ranging from five to 15 years.

This is the second death sentence issued by the Court in four days. On 5 October 2016, the same court sentenced N.A., 26, resident of Khan Younis, to death by hanging after she was convicted of killing her husband. The public prosecution had detained N.A. after the body of Abu Anza was found in the vacant area near the area that was used for settlements in west Khan Younis. Evidence of wounds marked different parts of his body. N.A. confessed to the crime stating motives relating to domestic dispute.

On 12 November 2011, the public prosecution detained the accused in the latter case for the killing of the 12-year-old Dalia. The girl was killed within the context of an inter-family dispute where small arms were used.  

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) views with grave concern the continued application of the death penalty in the Gaza Strip, despite the universal, urgent trend to abolish the practice. While recognizing the gravity of the alleged crimes, Al Mezan fully opposes the application of the death penalty in all instances. Al Mezan calls for the cooperative implementation, by the community and government, of restorative justice principles in view of repairing harm caused by crime and reducing future harm through crime prevention.

Al Mezan re-asserts that security and maintenance of the rule of law is a direct reflection of socioeconomic conditions, not relative to punishment laws. Capital punishment is proven not deter crime. Steps must be taken to immensely ameliorate the socioeconomic conditions in the Gaza Strip, first and foremost by lifting the nearly ten-year illegal closure and blockade imposed by Israel, which is the catalyst of rampant unemployment and poverty in Gaza.

Al Mezan reasserts its principled rejection of the issuance of death sentences and calls for a halt in the execution of the death sentences as a first step toward abolishing the practice. The relevant Palestinian laws must be amended to include other penalties. This turnaround must be achieved as a part of Palestinian internal reconciliation.

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