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'It's cruel and inhuman': EU condemns death sentences issued in Gaza

Sept. 27, 2017 9:33 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 27, 2017 9:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah condemned on Wednesday recent death sentences issued in the besieged Gaza Strip, calling the practice “cruel and inhuman.”

On Tuesday, a Gaza court issued death sentences against three Palestinian residents of Khan Younis, charged with killing a resident of Deir al-Balah during a robbery on his home, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The EU responded to the reports by reiterating their “firm opposition under all circumstances to the use of capital punishment,” adding that the EU supports the complete abolition of the death penalty in order to protect “human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.”

The EU “considers capital punishment to be cruel and inhuman, that it fails to provide deterrence to criminal behaviour, and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” the statement added.

The statement then urged authorities in Gaza to cease carrying out executions and to comply with the moratorium on executions imposed by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA).

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 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.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, at least 22 death sentences have been carried out in the besieged Gaza Strip since the Hamas movement rose to power there in 2007.

However, Hamas has recently agreed to allow the national reconciliation government to operate in the besieged Gaza Strip, possibly putting an end to a national split in the Palestinian government since a bloody conflict broke out between the Fatah-ruled PA and Hamas more than a decade ago.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Tuesday that by next Monday, when the PA holds its next weekly cabinet meeting in the Gaza Strip, all of Gaza’s affairs will be handed over to the PA.
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