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PACE rapporteur urges Israeli MPs to reconsider preliminary decision to allow death penalty for terrorists

Death row

On Wednesday the Israeli Knesset gave its preliminary approval to a bill that would allow courts to impose the death penalty for terrorists found guilty of killing Israeli citizens.

“This is a worrying development,” Aleksandar Nikoloski (North Macedonia, EPP/CD), PACE’s General Rapporteur on abolition of the death penalty, said in a statement today.

“The rejection of capital punishment is a basic principle of the Council of Europe. The European Court of Human Rights has established that capital punishment is not compatible with the right to life and that it amounts to ‘inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ contrary to the prohibition on torture. This applies in all circumstances, including in the fight against terrorism.

The Knesset has observer status with the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. I appeal, on behalf of the Assembly, to fellow MPs in Israel to reconsider their preliminary decision concerning this bill. I should like to recall that in December 2020, Israel was a co-sponsor of UN General Assembly Resolution 75/183 on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and voted in favour of this resolution.

The bill currently under consideration in the Knesset, if passed, represents a most regrettable step backwards, flying in the face of the world-wide trend against the use of capital punishment – a trend that Israel has until recently helped to promote.”