Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) condemns the Palestinian Authority’s (PA’s) intelligence service’s killing of activist Dignity [Karama] List leader Nizar Banat, after storming his house at dawn today and severely beating him in front of his family.
AOHR UK adds that, according to testimonies from members of the Banat family, the security forces stormed the house, broke doors and windows, and pepper-sprayed and beat Banat. He was, they say, struck on the head with a sharp object multiple times.
The attack left Banat screaming in pain, though he was taken from the house alive. The news of his death came in a statement from Alia public hospital and was afterward confirmed by the Hebron governor, Jibreen al-Bakri.
On hearing of his death, Banat’s family members went to Alia hospital to examine him. Unable to find him there, they searched other hospitals in vain.
Banat is known for his public activism and sharp criticism of PA and its security services. He has been subjected to multiple prosecutions; security services have stormed his house on previous occasions in search of him, sometimes using live fire.
The PA’s security services’ records show their continuous, brutal, inhumane treatment of Palestinian citizens. Thousands of Palestinians have been arrested and brutally tortured, leading to the death of at least six, and to permanent disabilities for others.
Spokespeople for the security services and media outlets affiliated with the PA deny their use of torture and brutal treatment of detainees and explain the deaths as the result of heart attacks, even suicides.
The security services dominate the Palestinian people and co-operate with the Israeli occupation, destroying all resistance to it. Each time the Palestinian people attempt to stand up and defend their rights against the occupying force and settlers, the security services play the role of protector – of the latter forces.
Following the end of Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, and in the context of attacks against the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Jerusalemites, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the security services have broken into numerous homes (wrecking their contents and stealing money and electronics) and arrested dozens of people, most of whom supported the people of Gaza, were in solidarity with al-Quds, or criticized the PA’s corruption.
Due to the support, they receive from the European Union and the United States, the security services have a green light – full impunity – to continue the oppression of the Palestinian people and protect the occupation and illegal settlers.
These services pose a threat to citizens’ lives and freedoms – the time has come to disband every unit and create a unified police apparatus to ensure the protection of citizens and to defend them against occupation forces’ and settlers’ attacks.
The murder of activist Nizar Banat should not go unnoticed. An international investigation must be opened, one that would oversee the autopsy and establish a clear path to prosecute all those responsible for it.