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Homelatest newsOutrage Over the Death of Palestinian Activist in PA Police Custody

Outrage Over the Death of Palestinian Activist in PA Police Custody

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Angry protests sweep across the West Bank following the death of the prominent political activist Nizar Banat in the custody of PA forces.

Nizar Banat, known as a strong critic of PA policies, was arrested after PA security forces violently stormed his house overnight.

Family sources affirmed that he was severely beaten and assaulted during his arrest.

A few hours later, Banat was proclaimed dead while in custody.

Thousands went into the streets demanding “downfall of the regime” and “justice for Banat”.

However, PA forces violently suppressed the protests and attacked demonstrators with batons amid heavy fire of tear gas and stun grenades in Ramallah.

Preliminary autopsy results showed that Banat was severely beaten with several bruises and fractures showing all over his body.

A full autopsy and toxicology reports are expected to be released within 10 days to definitively determine the cause of death.

Reuters contacted a spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority asking for more details of the arrest but there was no immediate reply.

Independent Investigation

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh had also ordered an investigation committee led by Minister of Justice Mohammad Shalaldeh.

However, Palestinian human rights organisations and factions questioned the credibility of an investigation led by the PA, calling for a serious and independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Banat’s death.

International Condemnation

The United Nations Middle East peace envoy, Tor Wennesland, expressed deep sadness by the death and called for a transparent investigation.

“The perpetrators must be brought to justice,” Wennesland said, offering condolences to Mr Banat’s family.

The European Union delegation to the Palestinians also expressed shock and sadness by the death. A “full, independent and transparent investigation should be conducted immediately,” it added.

Lynn Hastings, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, called the news “disturbing” and also called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

The US State Department said on Thursday that Washington was “disturbed” by Banat’s death.

“We urge the Palestinian Authority to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation and to ensure full accountability in this case,” spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

“We have serious concerns about Palestinian Authority restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression by Palestinians and harassment of civil society activists and organizations.”

 

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