UN Human Rights Office urges Hamas to stop executions in Gaza

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More than 150 countries have either abolished the death penalty or do not practice it.

The UN human Rights Office (OHCHR) has expressed concern over the planned resumption of execution of criminals in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas which control Gaza has announced it would resume executing people sentenced to death after the end of the Holy month of Ramadan.

UN High Commissioner for Human Right Navi Pillay says she is concerned about the process by which death sentences are imposed by military and civilian courts in the Gaza Strip.

Ms Pillay said some of those sentenced to death were subjected to ill treatment and torture during interrogations and that it is also not certain that the suspects receive a fair trial.

Ms Pillay is calling for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Gaza.

Elizabeth Throssell is the spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva.

"What we know is that the Attorney General in Gaza made several statements during Ramadan, saying that after Ramadan executions of people who were sentenced to death would take place. The reports that we have are of two possible executions. We think that the conditions in Gaza do make a fair trail difficult and unlikely. Under the Palestinian basic law, all executions have to be signed off by the Palestinian president. That is not happening. In the west bank for example there is a de-facto moratorium on executions. The death penalty still exists there as it does in the Gaza strip but it is not being carried out as the president has refused to sign any execution orders. What the High commissioner is calling for is appealing to the de-facto authorities in Gaza to place an immediate moratorium on the death penalty." 

According to the UN Human Rights Office at least 17 people have been executed in the Gaza Strip since 2007 while another 23 remain on death row.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1.41″

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