Family of murdered activist Nizar Banat: we do not trust the Palestinian courts

The family of the murdered Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat said Sunday that they do not trust the court proceedings in which 14 officers are on trial for their role in the murder, which took place last June.

The family announced that the lawyer who represented them at the trial, Gandhi Amin, withdrew from the court sessions after being verbally abused by the defendants’ lawyer.

The family called for the formation of an international committee representing Palestinians from different parts of the world to follow up on the case, which is described as a “national problem par excellence.”

“The attorney withdrew from the court sessions and did not return after his bias and lack of seriousness were shown, and after they became a scene of chaos and antics,” the family said in a statement.

Banat, 44, died shortly after being detained by several Palestinian Authority security agents in Hebron.

An outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority leadership, Banat was beaten to death by the officers who arrested him. His death sparked a wave of protests by Palestinian human rights activists.

Palestinian security agents stand guard during a trial of security agents (not seen) for the death of Nizar Banat, a critic of President Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on September 14, 2021 (credit: REUTERS / ALI SAWAFTA)

Fourteen Palestinian Authority officers are on trial before a Palestinian Authority military court in Ramallah for their role in the murder of Banat.

Addressing the Secretary General of the United Nations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Union and other international organizations, the statement issued by the Banat family accused the Palestinian Authority of “changing the course of truth and justice through the use of methods of procrastination, procrastination, fabrication and childish behavior during court sessions. “

The family complained that the Palestinian Authority has not brought charges against the head of the Preventive Security Force in Hebron, Maher Abu al-Halawa, for his alleged role in Banat’s death. The family also reproached the court for failing to order an investigation against Hebron Palestinian Authority Governor Jibreen al-Bakri for issuing “a false and misleading statement after the Nizar assassination.”

According to the family, a senior Palestinian Authority security official who testified in court changed his statements before the judges and said things “full of contradictions and lies”.

The family also accused the court of failing to protect witnesses who have been targeted by Palestinian security forces in recent months.

Hussein, cousin of the murdered activist and main witness, was arrested by the Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Service for 11 days. Another cousin, Amjad, was also recently arrested by the Palestinian security forces for unknown reasons.

Palestinian security forces have raided and searched the homes of several members of the Banat family in recent weeks.

During his testimony in court, Hussein was threatened by the defendants’ lawyer, according to the family statement. In addition, the attorney for the defendants “attacked attorney Gandhi Amin,” the statement added. “If the court wants to demonstrate its impartiality, it must compel the defendant’s attorney to publicly apologize to the witness and our attorney.”

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