The Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip must urgently halt the execution today of man who was under 18 at the time of one of his alleged crimes, said Amnesty International.
“The authorities in Gaza must urgently stop the execution scheduled for today. It is deeply disappointing that the Hamas de facto administration is returning to using the gallows after a brief reprieve in the summer,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director of Amnesty International.
The organization has received credible information that Hani Muhammad Abu Alian, who was sentenced to death in 2012, is likely to be executed this afternoon. There are serious concerns regarding his trial, including allegations he was tortured or otherwise ill-treated during his interrogation to extract a confession.
“It is shocking that Hani Abu Alian is facing execution, particularly as it was a crime committed when he was a under 18, and imposed by a court which according to his lawyer relied upon a forced confession,” said Philip Luther.
“A fresh trial that adheres to international standards must be ordered in his case. Sentencing a juvenile offender to death is a breach of Palestinian and international law.”
One of the lawyers working on the case told Amnesty International: “It’s a legal, moral, political, and religious crisis. When a government executes so many people, and without regard for the law, it means the country is rotten.”
Amnesty International calls on Hamas de facto administration to immediately overturn or commute the sentences of the 40 or so people facing the death penalty in Gaza. At least 16 have been executed there since 2009.
“The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment. It has never been shown to be a more effective deterrent than any other form of punishment and should be abolished. Amnesty International is against the death penalty in all cases,” Philip Luther said.
In May 2010 Hani Muhammad Abu Alian was convicted by the Khan Younis Court of First Instance in two separate cases. In the first, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the ”unintentional homicide” of a friend in 2009 and, in the second, to life imprisonment plus 14 years for the killing and rape of a six-year-old child in 2000 when he was under 18 years of age. Hani Abu Alian’s lawyer argued that his “confession” to the latter crime was inadmissible since he was beaten during interrogation, but this complaint was dismissed.
The prosecution appealed against these sentences and in September 2012 the Appeal Court upgraded the charges to murder in both cases and increased the life sentences to the death penalty, a decision upheld by the Court of Cassation on 14 July. Under Palestinian law, a killing committed when the perpetrator is under 18 years of age does not carry the death sentence.