“PCHR Calls upon the Palestinian President Not to Ratify the Death Sentence Issued by the Jenin Military Court
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 00:00
On Monday 10 October 2011, the Permanent Military Court in Jenin in the northern West Bank sentenced Waheed ‘Atta Yaseen, 23, to death by firing squad. Yaseen is from Deir Abu Da’if, a village east of Jenin, and is a member of the Palestinian Presidential Guard. The Court’s Judges, Lieutenant Colonel Tawfiq Abu Nasser as Chairperson and Majors Rami Taqqaq and ‘Allam Dalbah, convicted Yaseen of murder in accordance with the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.
The court issued the sentence against Yaseen in his presence. The sentence can be appealed and is subject to the ratification by the Palestinian President. Yaseen was convicted of the murder of Mahmoud Sami Hassoun, 45, from Jenin, who had a pawn shop for jewelry in the center of Jenin, until he was killed on 20 March 2011.
According to Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) documentation, this sentence is the sixth of its kind in 2011; two of which were issued in the West Bank and four in the Gaza Strip. Thus, the total number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian Authority has mounted to 118 sentences since 1994, of which 25 were issued in the West Bank and 93 in the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 32 sentences were issued since 2007.
It should be noted that the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is unconstitutional when implemented by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), as it has not been presented to, nor approved by the legislature. Since 1995, PCHR has also repeatedly called for its abolition as it violates international standards of a fair trial.
PCHR is gravely concerned over the continued application of the death penalty in PNA controlled areas, and:
1. Calls for an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a form of punishment because it violates international human rights standards and instruments, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), and the UN Convention against Torture (1984).
2. Calls upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to ratify such cruel and inhuman punishment.
3. Calls for an end to such implementation of the PLO Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979 because it is unconstitutional.
4. Calls for reviewing all legislations related to the death penalty, especially Law No. 74 (1936) which remains in effect in the Gaza Strip, and the Jordanian Penal Code No. 16 (1960) that is in effect in the West Bank, and enacting a unified penal code that is in line with the spirit of international human rights instruments, especially those pertaining to the abolition of the death penalty.
5. Points out that the call for the abolition of the death penalty does not reflect a tolerance for those convicted of serious crimes, but rather a call for utilizing deterrent penalties that maintain our humanity.”