Public executions in Gaza "imminent"

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The sentences are to be carried out without the assent of Palestinian President Mohammad Abbas, the UN Human Rights Office said. UN Photo/ Jean-Marc Ferré

In Gaza, public executions may be "imminent", the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has warned.

Responding to statements by the authorities in Gaza that "a number" of people are to be put to death, OHCHR has issued a reminder that death sentences may only be carried out when strict fair trial standards have been met.

The UN office also said that carrying out executions in public is illegal under international law.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

The announcement by Gaza authorities that 13 people are to be put to death follows calls from the families of their alleged victims, whom they are said to have killed.

The UN Human Rights Office says that it is deeply concerned on many counts, and has "serious doubts" about whether basic fair trial standards have been met.

It is also worried about reports that the sentences are to be carried out without the approval of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, following assent by the Palestinian Legislative Assembly.

Here's OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani:

"The executions are being carried out following the demands of several families of victims for the death penalty to be carried out. The death penalty should not be vigilantism, what we're looking for is justice."

Shamdasani also noted that reports indicating that the sentences could be carried out in public are also alarming, as the the practice is prohibited under international human rights law.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 0'55"


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