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Palestinian Authority carries out first executions since 2002

[JURIST] The Palestinian National Authority [official website] carried out four death sentences Sunday, the first time the Palestinian government had put convicts to death since 2002, when Bashir Atari, 21, was executed by firing squad for cutting the throats of two women. The four men executed Sunday had been convicted of murder and other crimes, and were put to death after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas signed execution orders Saturday. Capital punishment has been in place since the Authority was established in 1994, but was later suspended by Yasser Arafat amid pressure from human rights groups. Some call the executions - three by hanging, one by firing squad - a calculated move to restore government order after years of virtual lawlessness. Last month, Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky urged the Palestinian Authority to reverse its decision [JURIST report] to reintroduce capital punishment, especially as against accused collaborators with Israel, who make up 50% of the Palestinians on the Authority's death row. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has more on the executions. AP has more.

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