On 24 June, activist and former candidate for the Palestinian Legislative Council Nizar Banat was pronounced dead shortly after being arrested by the Palestinian Authority security forces in Hebron. According to direct witnesses, more than a dozen Palestinian security forces officers entered a house and beat Nizar Banat with steel batons for several minutes before taking him away. Two hours after the raid, the family was informed through a public statement of Hebron’s governor that Nizar Banat had died.
The death of Nizar Banat is of serious concern and takes place against the backdrop of an increasingly persistent practice by Palestinian security forces of detention and ill-treatment of human rights activists and political opponents exercising their right of freedom of expression and association. The EU is also gravely concerned about reports of an increase in apparently politically motivated arrests over the past few months in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Violence against politicians and human rights defenders is unacceptable and the Palestinian Authority remains responsible for upholding human rights in the areas where it is able to exercise control. The death of Nizar Banat must be investigated immediately through an independent body and in a fully transparent manner. Those responsible for his death must be held accountable.
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