Fourteen members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces will be charged for their role in the death of Palestinian activist, Nizar Banat, who died while in custody in late June, a spokesperson for the forces confirmed yesterday.
“The investigations have concluded, and the military prosecutors decided to charge all the officers and forces who participated in apprehending Nizar Banat,” PA security services spokesperson Talal Dweikat told Wafa news agency.However, Banat’s family has already pledged not to accept the results of the PA investigation into his death and formally withdrew support from an earlier commission of inquiry that led to the arrest of the 14 suspects in July.
Talal told Wafa that the commander of the mission as well as the other members of the force were accused of taking part in the beating that caused Banat’s death.
They were also accused of abuse of power and violating military instructions.
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.
His death has prompted weeks of protests demanding accountability for the death of fellow campaigner Banat. Demonstrators gathered and raised placards reading: “Abbas, listen to us, dissolve the PA and leave us.”
The protesters also condemned the continuous security cooperation between the PA and Israel for the sake of “chasing and liquidating” members of the Palestinian resistance.
Earlier this month, 24 Palestinian activists were arrested, detained, and brutally beaten in custody by members of the PA security services. The activists had gathered for a peaceful demonstration in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah; the violent arrests occurred suddenly as they were about to launch a vigil in Manara Square.
In June, a post-mortem examination showed that Banat had been beaten on the head, chest, neck, legs, and hands, during the hour between his arrest and death.