[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Mar 10 00:44:39 CST 2005
Abbas hands over fate of death row prisoners to Grand Mufti
TONY EASTLEY: The Palestinian Authority is poised to resume executions of
death row prisoners, with 15 facing the firing squad later this month. The
Palestinian Authority suspended executions three years ago. But now
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked the top Palestinian Muslim
cleric to review the files of 50 convicted felons.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories, Sheikh
Ekrima Sabri, says he's so far endorsed five of the death sentences.
Middle East correspondent, Mark Willacy.
(Sounds of gunfire - firing squad)
MARK WILLACY: This is how justice is metered out on the streets of the
West Bank in Gaza. Like dozens of suspected collaborators, Mohammed
Darigme (phonetic) was dragged into the main square of his village by
armed militants, and then machine-gunned to death.
In a bid to stop this type of summary justice and to re-establish law and
order on the streets, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is poised to
bring back the death penalty. Sheikh Sabri is the Gran Mufti of Jerusalem
and the Palestinian territories, and he's been charged by President Abbas
with reviewing the cases of 51 prisoners sentenced to death.
In order to be comfortable with the death penalty decisions, President
Abbas has asked me to look into these cases again, the Mufti tells me. If
we reply that the courts have passed fair sentences, then I will recommend
that the executions be carried out. After all, I just implement religious
opinion, which flows from God, says the Mufti.
BASSEM EID: According to the law, the Mufti has nothing to do in such kind
MARK WILLACY: Bassem Eid is the Director of the Palestinian Human Rights
Monitoring Group. He accuses President Mahmoud Abbas of passing the buck.
BASSEM EID: The only one who should have to sign and to ratify such
judgements, is only the President. So I'm wondering why Mr Abbas
transferred that list to the Mufti. Is that because Mr Abbas himself
wouldn't like to do such kind of dirty work?
MARK WILLACY: It's believed about half of the 51 death row cases being
reviewed by the Mufti Sheikh Ekrima Sabri are those of Palestinians
convicted of collaborating with Israel.
Sheikh Sabri believes collaborators deserve nothing less than death. The
courts have come to the conclusion that the collaborator who is sentenced
to death, has caused the deaths of scores of Palestinians, the Mufti says.
But human rights advocates like Bassem Eid, argue that Palestinian society
needs to show more compassion and mercy.
BASSEM EID: We are so worried about it because in the whole last speeches
of Mr Abbas, he is talking about the rule of law, and about human rights
and about democracy, so executing such people, that's totally against
democracy, that's totally against human rights, and even against the rule
MARK WILLACY: The 1st executions of Palestinians on death row are expected
later this month.
(source: ABC Radio Australia News)
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