Date: 15 April 2010
Time: 10:15 GMT
PCHR Strongly Condemns Execution of Two Prisoners by Gaza Government
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the implementation of two death sentences in the Gaza Strip this morning. These death sentences were carried out without the ratification of the Palestinian President. PCHR reiterates that the ratification of death sentences is an exclusive right of the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) under the Code of Criminal Procedures (3) of 2001: the implementation of any death sentences without the President’s ratification constitutes a violation of the law and constitution.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Thursday morning, 15 April 2010, the Ministry of Interior in Gaza executed by firing squad Nasser Salama Abu Fraih, 35, from ‘Izbat ‘Abed Rabbu area in Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip, and Mohammed Ibrahim Isma’il (al-Sabe’), 36, from the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.
Abu Fraih’s brother, Sabri, 37, stated to PCHR that at approximately 23:00 on Wednesday, 14 April 2010, he received a phone call from his brother saying that he would be transferred to another prison and that the family could visit him at once. At approximately 00:30 on Thursday, members of the family went to Ansar Prison to visit him, and they were surprised by the presence of many people there wishing to visit detainees.
According to Abu Fraih, at approximately 07:30 on Thursday, he received a phone cal from the Ministry of Interior in Gaza, in which he was informed that his brother had been executed and that he should bring 5 members of the family to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to bury him.
Al-Sabe’s brother, Nabil, 33, stated to PCHR that a police unit came to his house at approximately 00:30 on Thursday, and informed the family that they could visit Mohammed Al-Sabe immediately as he would likely be transferred to another prison. His family visited him that night.
At approximately 07:00 this morning, the family received a phone call from the Ministry of Interior, in which they were informed that Mohammed had been executed, and that they should come to receive his body at 09:00.
The official web site of the Ministry of Interior in Gaza quoted the chief military justice in Gaza today as saying that “the death sentences issued against two persons convicted of collaboration were implemented this morning.”
The Gaza Military Court had already sentenced Abu Fraih and al-Saba’ to death by firing squad. On 22 February 2009, the court sentenced the former to death after convicting him of treason and involvement in killing, and on 3 November 2009, the court sentenced the later to death by hanging after convicting him of treason and involvement in killing. PCHR issued press releases calling on the Palestinian Presidents not to ratify the two death sentences, and demanded the abolishment of the death penalty in Palestinian law.
PCHR issued a press release also on 25 March 2010, following a statement by the Minister of Interior in Gaza, Fathi Hammad, that the government in Gaza would implement death sentences issued against individuals who collaborated with Israeli security services or those convicted of willful killing. In its press release, PCHR again demanded that no death sentences be implemented without the President’s ratification, and called for the abolishment of the death penalty.
In light of the above, PCHR:
1) Confirms that the ratification of death sentences is an exclusive right of the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) under the Code of Criminal Procedures (3) of 2001, and the implementation of death sentences without the President’s ratification constitutes a violation of the law and constitution.
2) Reiterates its position rejecting the death penalty, which is a grave and unjustified violation of the right to life and a form of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment. The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime as is evidenced by the experiences of other states applying this penalty.
3) Reiterates its position that the PNA has a duty to prosecute those accused of collaboration with Israel. Abolishment of the death penalty does no mean being tolerant of criminals; however, an appropriate deterrent penalty which complies with international law and maintains our humanity, should be considered.
4) Points to the developing international trend towards the abolishment of the death penalty and the necessity of joining such trends and reinforcing Palestinian efforts to abolish death penalty.