Death penalty reintroduced

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

However the executions drew swift condemnation from human rights groups.

The deaths reflect the tough challenge that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas faces as he tries to impose law and order in Palestinian areas.

Mr Abbas has made public order a top priority, but his forces have been severely weakened by internal rivalries, a lack of resources and years of fighting with Israel.

Despite efforts to revamp his security forces, militant groups and armed gangs continue to operate with virtual impunity.

The executions appear to be an attempt to deter criminals and send a message to the public without directly confronting the militants. None of the executed men are believed to be affiliated with any of the major militant groups.

“There is a new policy of enforcing the law, to face and fight the chaos and lawlessness in the Palestinian territories,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa said.

There was no advance notice of the pre-dawn executions, which had all won approval ahead of time by Islamic religious authorities.

Within 24 hours of Mr Abbas signing the execution orders three of the men were hanged, and a fourth was executed by firing squad, in line with the sentences handed down by the judges presiding at their trials.

The Palestinian Authority has had the death penalty in place since its establishment in 1994.

However, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat halted executions in 2002 after criticism by European countries and international human rights groups.

The Gaza Centre for Human Rights, a Palestinian monitoring group, said the executed men were all serving murder sentences in Palestinian prisons, some dating back to the mid-1990s.

Rigi Sorani, chairman of the human rights group, condemned the
killings and accused the Palestinian Authority of carrying out
“token” executions that failed to go after the gunmen and rogue
elements of the security forces responsible for much of the recent
violence.

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