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Palestinian activist’s family seeks international justice following his death

August 27, 2021 at 9:43 am

A girl stands behind posters depicting late Palestinian human rights activist Nizar Banat during a demonstration in remembrance of him in Gaza City on June 29, 2021 [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images]

The family of Palestinian activist, Nizar Banat, who died while in the custody of Palestinian security forces in June, has called for an international investigation into his death.

Banat, a leading critic of the Palestinian Authority and its President, Mahmoud Abbas, was murdered only hours after his home was raided and he was detained by the Palestinian security forces in the city of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank.

Yesterday the family’s lawyers, the British firm Stoke White, said in a statement that they have asked Britain’s Metropolitan Police to open an investigation under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Stoke White said it had also asked multiple branches of the United Nations human rights system to open investigations, including the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and four special rapporteurs.

In June, a post-mortem examination showed that Banat had been beaten on the head, chest, neck, legs and hands, during the hour period between his arrest and death.

READ: PA court sentences Nizar Banat’s brother to jail

Stoke White’s statement indicated that seven senior officials in the Palestinian Authority are named in the investigation request including the Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein Al-Sheikh, on suspicion of torture and war crimes.

“Responsibility for the murder of Nizar Banat very clearly lies with the senior leadership of the Palestinian Authority including President Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh” said Hakan Camuz, the head of international law and Stoke White.

On Tuesday, the United Nations condemned in a statement the “continued pressure” exerted by the Palestinian Authority on the right to freedom of expression after the arrest of about 20 Palestinians in the West Bank who had planned for a protest to demand justice for Banat.