European Union missions based in Jerusalem and Ramallah in the occupied West Bank condemned Friday a death sentence issued in the Gaza Strip earlier this week.
The sentence was the fifth issued since the beginning of the year by Palestinian courts.
On Monday, the Permanent Military Court in Gaza City — acting as a court of First Instance — sentenced a 37-year-old Palestinian from the al-Daraj neighborhood to death by firing squad after he was convicted of “collaboration with a foreign hostile entity,” the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported.
Under Palestinian law, wilful, premeditated murder and treason as well as collaboration with the enemy — usually Israel — are punishable by death.
The EU called on authorities in Gaza — run by the Hamas movement — to refrain from enforcing capital punishment on the grounds that the practice is cruel, inhumane, fails to deter criminal behavior, and denies citizens human dignity.
PCHR said that Monday’s sentence brings the total number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian courts since 1994 to 161, over 80 percent of which were carried out in the Gaza Strip.
The remainder took place in the occupied West Bank in courts run by the Palestinian Authority.
The majority of those facing the death penalty in the Gaza Strip have been executed since Hamas took control on 2007, PCHR said, adding that 19 have been executed since 2007 without ratification by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Under Palestinian law, capital punishment may only be carried out with the approval of the Palestinian president.
As the Hamas movement broke from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and does not recognize the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip sidestep the president’s consent on cases of capital punishment.
The EU added that the authorities in Gaza must “comply with the moratorium on executions put in place by the Palestinian Authority, pending abolition of the death penalty in line with the global trend.”
While Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and the Palestinian Authority rules in the occupied West Bank, the death penalty is carried out by both parties in both territories.
Hamas executed 18 men in August for alleged collaboration with Israel during the 50-day Gaza war.
Palestine is one of 22 countries that carried out the death penalty last year.
The practice has been abolished in 140 countries — nearly two thirds of countries around the world — and in 2012 over half of United Nations member states voted for a UN resolution to be passed for a global moratorium on the practice.
In 2014, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States carried out the largest numbers of recorded death sentences.
Rights groups have criticized Palestinian authorities in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip for implementing capital punishment without due process.