By Andrew Isaacson
The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel condemned the Palestinian Authority for the killing of Nizar Banat, a prominent political activist and an opponent of the PA, and demanded legal action against all PA security personnel involved in the death.
Banat was arrested in Hebron by PA security forces over the weekend and tortured to death. He died less than an hour after he was arrested.
He was an outspoken critic of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, and his Facebook posts included accusing Abbas of corruption and fraud, and asking Western countries to cut off aid to the PA because of its authoritarianism and human rights violations.
The PA’s Hebron Governor Jibrin al-Bakri claimed his security forces entered the house where Banat was hiding (see video in tweet below) with a warrant for his arrest and beat him up for eight minutes. Banat’s family accused the officers of violently beating him.
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) June 27, 2021
Dr. Samir Abu Zaarour, a pathologist who attended an autopsy on Banat, told reporters that the death was “unnatural” and he was beaten on the head, chest, neck, legs and hands.
Abbas has been the head of the PA for the last 16 years. PA Arabs marched in Hebron and other PA cities over the weekend calling for the end of his regime.
Adalah noted that the PA is a signatory to human rights treaties since 2014 and a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court since 2015. It is obligated to respect and preserve human rights in accordance with both treaties.
“Adalah demands the Palestinian legal system pursue justice, issuing indictments for all members of the PA security forces connected to the killing of Nizar Banat,” it stated Monday.
“Adalah further demands accountability, calling for the immediate establishment of an official, professional, neutral, independent investigatory commission to probe the PA’s policy of torture and killing,” it added.
Many other countries and delegations have already called for an investigation into Banat’s death.
The US State Department expressed in a statement their concerns about the PA’s restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression and harassment of civil society activists and organizations.
“Shocked and saddened by the death of activist and former legislative candidate Nizar Banat following his arrest by the PA security forces last night,” the European Union Delegation to the PA stated. “Our thoughts go to his family and loved ones. Full, independent and transparent investigation should be conducted immediately.”
Palestinian Authority Arabs have been protesting and rioting for the past few day against the murder.