Nizar Banat’s killing by Palestinian Authority forces early Thursday during his arrest has been met with anger on the streets and condemnation from Palestinian factions and human rights organizations.
Nizar, an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority who had intended to run in parliamentary elections before they were cancelled earlier this year, died during his arrest by PA forces early Thursday.
In a brief statement, the Hebron governorate said his “health deteriorated” when a force of the security services went to arrest him early Thursday.
It said he was taken to a hospital where he was later announced dead, as around 25 Palestinian security forces stormed the home where Nizar was staying, blowing out doors and windows,beating Nizar with an iron bar and sprayed pepper spray in his eyes before undressing him and dragging him away to a vehicle.
In a statement, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) held the PA responsible for Banat’s death.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it is unacceptable that the PA continues to arrest Palestinian activists while at the same time it “doesn’t dare to arrest Israeli settlers and their violence and attacks against Palestinians.”
Ayed Yaghi, an official of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) movement in the Gaza Strip, said in a statement that the PNI condemns “the arrest of the activist and candidate for the Legislative Council, Nizar Banat, which led to his death”.
Yaghi called for the formation of an independent investigation committee from outside the PA made up of people known for their independence and integrity to conduct a comprehensive investigation into what happened and to ensure that those responsible for Banat’s death were punished.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said: “We consider that [PA] Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh bears the primary responsibility for the murder of activist and parliamentary candidate Nizar Banat, and we call for the killers to be prosecuted.”
Hamas leader Abdel Rahman Shadid told Quds News Network that what happened with Nizar Banat is a coward assasination and a deliberate process of liquidation to suppress a voice strongly opposed to the policies of the PA against Palestinian activists.
Hamas has also called Palestinian factions and Palestinian people to condemn the PA’s crime and to protest in the streets against what the PA did to Banat.
The European Union Delegation to the Palestinians has also condemned the death of Banat, saying it is “shocked and saddened”.
“Our thoughts go to his family and loved ones. Full, independent, and transparent investigation should be conducted immediately,” said the EU Delegation.
Shocked and saddened by the death of activist and former legislative candidate Nizar Banat following his arrest by the PA security forces last night. Our thoughts go to his family and loved ones. Full, independent, and transparent investigation should be conducted immediately.
— EU and Palestinians (@EUpalestinians) June 24, 2021
The Independent Commission for Human Rights also said that it considered the death of Banat as a very serious development.
The commission indicated that it has begun investigating and collecting information about the death and would participate in the autopsy through a forensic doctor delegated by the commission.
It said the results of the investigation would be announced immediately.
In a statement, the Palestinian NGO Network, warned against the continuation of the PA’s crackdown on any opposition, saying “it had the potential to turn into a police state governed by a system of repression and a disregard for people’s lives and their dignity in the reality of the occupation.”
It also called for the formation of an immediate impartial investigation to find out what happened and for Abbas to stop all infringements on civil rights, public freedoms, and the dignity of citizens.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor also expressed its deep shock at the circumstances of Banat’s death.
The organisation demanded the opening of a serious, urgent and independent investigation into the case, since all the circumstances pointed to a deliberate “process of liquidation” to suppress a voice strongly opposed to the policies of the PA