(Ramallah) The Palestinian judiciary on Monday formally charged 14 members of the Palestinian security forces for the deaths of Nizar Banat, an activist and critic of President Mahmoud Abbas, who died shortly after his arrest in June.
Posted on Sep 6, 2021 at 3:23 pm
These 14 people, who were present during the arrest and detention of Nizar Banat, were charged with “beating resulting in death, abuse of power and violation of security orders,” said Palestinian Security Services spokesman Talal Dweikat.
Originally from the Hebron region of the southern occupied West Bank, Nizar Banat was best known for his videos posted on social networks criticizing the Palestinian Authority by Mr Abbas, whom he accused of corruption.
Nizar Banat was arrested and detained at dawn on June 24th at his uncle’s home in Dura, near Hebron, where, according to local authorities, his health was deteriorating rapidly.
The coroner responsible for his autopsy had reported signs of beating to the head, chest, neck, legs and hands. Less than an hour had passed between the beatings and his death, he said in June.
Since his death, demonstrations have been organized in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, under the shouts of “Clear Abbas” and “Justice for Nizar”.
In light of the dispute, the Palestinian Authority had set up a Justice Department-led committee to investigate the death.
In a statement, Mr Dweikat said the investigation has been transferred to a military tribunal that will be tasked with conducting the trial.
When asked by AFP, Nizar Banat’s brother Ghassan said the family had “rejected” the decision of the Palestinian judiciary.
“We believe she is using the 14 members of the security forces as a scapegoat. These soldiers and officers did not come to arrest and kill Nizar themselves, they received an order. And the fact that they were all silent from the first moment proves that the authorities promised to defend them, ”he added.
The family of Nizar Banat, who accuses the Palestinian Authority of “murdering” what officials deny, had already seized the British judiciary “on the basis of universal jurisdiction” in late July and asked the UN for assistance in investigating this sensitive matter .