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Public prosecutor: 26 death sentences to be carried out in Gaza

April 9, 2017 8:03 P.M. (Updated: April 10, 2017 9:42 A.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Some 26 death penalties will be carried out next year in the Gaza Strip, a public prosecutor in the besieged Palestinian enclave said in a statement on Sunday.

Public prosecutor Ismail Jabir said that 26 execution orders issued against Palestinians convicted of collaborating with Israel or other criminal charges would be carried out next year, although the exact time frame remained unclear.

Jabir added that the executions of three alleged collaborators on Thursday were carried out after taking all legal recourse, and based on “popular consensus” and agreement among “all forces” under his direct supervision.

Under Palestinian law, willful, premeditated murder and treason as well as collaboration with the enemy -- usually Israel -- are punishable by death. However, all death sentences must be ratified by the Palestinian Authority (PA) president before they can be carried out.

Despite this, the Hamas de facto administration in Gaza has carried out executions periodically without receiving approval from PA President Mahmoud Abbas since 2010, with an uptick in executions in the past year.

Jabir claimed that the public prosecution in Gaza had contacted Abbas and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah before carrying out Thursday’s executions, but that it had received no response, leading to what he called a “constitutional gap,” which led the public prosecution to “exceptionally” carry out the death penalties.

The recent executions came days after the ministry declared “a week of repentance” -- promising security and legal protection to Palestinians who confessed to collaborating with Israel and turned themselves into intelligence authorities -- amid a fierce security crackdown in the besieged coastal enclave in the wake of the killing of Hamas leader Mazen Fuqahaa.

Jabir reiterated on Sunday that a gag order issued over the investigation into Fuqahaa’s death was still ongoing -- a policy reminiscent of the one imposed by Israeli authorities on media within Israel over sensitive judicial cases.

Gaza military courts issued a number of death sentences last year to Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel, while several alleged collaborators having been executed in Gaza in recent years.

The implementation of death sentences in Gaza has been strongly and regularly condemned by rights groups and foreign governments as an “unacceptable” and “barbaric practice.”
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