On 7 April 2012, the Hamas authorities in Gaza executed three Palestinians condemned to death by Gaza courts: Walid Khaled Jarbo’a, age 27, of the al-Bureij refugee camp, convicted of collaboration with Israel and condemned to death in 2012; Muhammad Ahmad Barakah, age 49, of Deir al-Balah, convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2010; and Muhammad Jamil 'Abdin, age 20, of Rafah, convicted of raping and murdering a 12-year-old boy and sentenced to death in 2010.
Since Hamas took over in Gaza, 32 people have been sentenced to death by its courts, and ten people have been executed, including some who were sentenced to death before the Hamas takeover.
In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority courts have sentenced 71 people to death since the PA was established in 1995. Thus far, 13 of them have been executed.
Under Palestinian law, execution of a condemned person requires authorization by the President of the Palestinian Authority. Since assuming the presidency in 2005, Mahmoud Abbas has refused to authorize executions, and none have been performed since then in the West Bank. Meanwhile, West Bank courts continue to mete out death sentences.
In Gaza, the Hamas regime resumed executions, arguing that Abbas’ tenure had ended and hence the Hamas government does not recognize him as President and his authorization is no longer required.
In the Hamas and PA prisons there are currently dozens of people under sentence of death and uncertain of their eventual fate. Nine of them are in West Bank prisons and the rest are in Gaza.
B’Tselem condemns the use of capital punishment, which is immoral and a violation of human rights. There is no place for such punishment on the law books, regardless of the crimes committed. The PA and the Hamas government must revoke the death penalty altogether. Meanwhile, the Hamas regime must cease carrying out executions.