Days of Palestine – Ramallah
Palestinian Authority Security Services earlier on Tuesday stormed homes of Nizar Banat’s relatives in Hebron city, a member of the family said.
Ammar Banat, Nizar’s cousin, said that at dawn today, a force of the PA Security Services stormed several homes of Banat’s relatives located in the so-called Area C that is under complete Israeli control.
Ammar noted that the PA’s forces said that 12 members of the family are wanted and they are under search, in connection with the arrest of his brother, Hussein, the key witness in the Nizar Banat assassination case.
Hussein Banat was arrested by the PA’s forces on September 28 because he is one of two eyewitnesses to the PA’s raid that ended with the killing and assassination of Nizar.
Hussein’s testimony is central to the charges against the PA forces, whose trial opened on 27 September.
Several reports said that the PA’s forces 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.”
Appearing in a 27 September court session in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 14 indicted security officers pleaded not guilty as prosecutors read out a charge sheet including battery, abuse of power, and violation of military instructions.
But Banat’s family have demanded that PA officials be held to account over his death, accusing President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, of deflecting blame.
“This is an incomplete and partial court case, and everyone in it is a scapegoat, until the interior minister, the head of the Preventive Security Services, and his deputy are behind bars,” Banat’s brother, Ghassan, said outside the courthouse.
The next hearing for the 14 officers took place on October 4.
The witnesses of the case said that Nizar’s phone was hacked before his assassination and this is “contrary to the law.”
Earlier in June, Nizar Banat, an outspoken critic of the PA, was killed by the PA forces as his health deteriorated when a force of the security services went to arrest him from his home.
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.
Nizar Banat’s killing had been met with anger on the streets and condemnation from Palestinian factions and human rights organizations.
Despite the local and international calls to bring those responsible accountable, the PA continues to delay announcing the results of the investigations into the crime and bring justice.
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It also continues to detain those who protest demanding justice for Banat and his relatives.