Gaza protesters demand maintaining death penalty while NGOs discuss abolishing

October 14, 2013

Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip, protest in support of executing criminals in Gaza City, on October
9, 2013. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Human Rights defenders at an Abolish the Death Penalty meeting in Gaza were confronted with a demonstration of death penalty supporters days after Hamas hanged a convicted murderer. “The death penalty is Islamic law – implement it against all criminals,” one banner read. Mohammed Shurab, spokesman for Gaza’s “Families of the Victims” movement, urged “the government in Gaza to continue carrying out the death sentence against those who are killing our sons.” But speakers at the conference said the death penalty went against both international humanitarian law and the principles of Islam. “Islam doesn’t allow the death penalty or the killing of anyone,” said Suleiman Awda, a lecturer in Islamic law at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University. “It is a religion of forgiveness.” This position has been defended rigorously by several scholars including MEA 2009 Laureate Emad Baghi.

UN experts warned it was “not possible to correct a mistake… There’s no going back once the death penalty has been carried out.”

Last week’s hanging was the first time since July 2012 that Hamas has carried out capital punishment for murder. But on June 22, the Islamist movement hanged two men accused of collaborating with Israel. Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking are all punishable by death. Hamas has executed 17 people since taking over Gaza in 2007, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

via Gaza protesters demand death penalty as anti-NGOs meet | Maan News Agency.

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