PA to Charge 14 Officers Involved in Banat’s Death

Palestinian prominent activist Nizar Banat. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Palestinian military prosecution has indicted all 14 officers from the Preventative Security Service in Hebron (Al-Khalil) for allegedly beating opposition figure Nizar Banat to death in late June.

Banat, a well-known critic of the Palestinian Authority, died under police custody, sparking protests across the occupied West Bank.

The investigation into Banat’s death has been completed and all officers involved in his arrest are now indicted, PA security services spokesperson Talal Dweikat Palestinian Authority’s news agency Wafa on Sunday.

“The investigations have concluded, and the military prosecutors… decided to charge all the officers and forces who participated in apprehending Nizar Banat,” Dweikat said, adding the officer who ordered the arrest was also formally charged.

Banat, 44, a resident of Dura, near Hebron, was well-known for his caustically sarcastic videos tearing into the PA leadership. Banat was reportedly beaten after Palestinian security forces raided his home and apprehended him.

In a series of posts and live videos on Facebook, Banat had criticized the authority’s close security coordination with Israel – seen by many Palestinians as a betrayal – and alleged corruption.

He also lashed out at President Mahmoud Abbas in April for canceling what would have been the first Palestinian elections in 15 years. Banat was a candidate on an opposition slate.

His family said security PA forces stormed Banat’s bedroom while he was sleeping and beat him, inflicting head wounds before removing him from his home. He died shortly after in custody on June 24.

His death has prompted weeks of protests. On July 5, at least six activists were arrested by security forces when protesting outside the Palestinian Authority headquarters. Multiple witnesses said the police used pepper spray and beat the protesters with batons.

Rights groups and watchdogs condemned the PA for Banat’s death and the violent suppression of protests that followed.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

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