The Palestinian Authority security services arrested on Monday the key witness in the Nizar Banat murder case, local sources have revealed. Banat, a harsh critic of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, was killed by PA security officers in June.
"My brother, Hussein Banat, the cousin of Nizar Banat, was arrested today," Ammar Banat wrote on Twitter. "Hussein is one of the key eyewitnesses of the murder of Nizar." He pointed out that the PA security services raided the areas where Nizar's relatives live and broke into their homes.
Nizar Banat was well-known for his criticism of Palestinian politics on social media. In his videos, he criticised Abbas and other senior PA officials regularly for corruption and their security cooperation with the Israeli occupation authorities. His killing attracted international condemnation and sparked rare protests against the PA leadership by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
READ: Nizar Banat's family says won't attend 'incomplete' trial
Hussein Banat, Nizar's cousin, was one of two witnesses to the raid that ended with his killing. His testimony is central to the charges against the PA officers, whose trial opened on Monday. Local sources told Al-Maydan News Agency that Hussein "was beaten unconscious, and he was left without medical care."
The sources added that the PA Protective Security agents asked Hussein "to deny that he saw Colonel Aziz Tamizi, the commander of the mission when Banat was murdered, putting gas into his cousin's mouth, and deny that he heard him ordering other security officers to complete the mission."
A Hebrew source confirmed to MEMO on Tuesday morning the information mentioned in this report.