The Freedom of Expression Coalition condemns the murder of activist Nizar Banat and demands the formation of an independent investigation committee

Ramallah /PNN/

25/06/2021 The Civil Coalition to Protect Freedom of Expression and Digital Rights in Palestine condemns the murder of political and human rights activist, Nizar Banat, whose death was announced about two hours after his arrest by the Palestinian security forces at dawn on Thursday (24/6/2021), according to his family members, who were not contacted by the official and security authorities and informed of his death at the time.

The statement, which was read by Dr. Ammar Dweik, Director General of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, during a press conference held by the Commission and Al-Haq Organization yesterday evening, confirmed that the death was “unnatural.” It stated that “the autopsy observations confirmed the presence of injuries represented by bruises and abrasions in many areas of the body, including the head, neck, shoulders, chest, back, upper and lower extremities, with binding marks on the wrists, as well as fractures of the ribs. As the preliminary autopsy results indicate, according to the commission’s doctor and the family’s representing doctor, the death is abnormal, but determining the main cause of death from a clinical point of view requires waiting for tissue laboratory results.

According to Banat’s family witnesses, at about 3:30 am on Thursday, around 27 members and officers of the Palestinian Security Forces stormed the house where he was sleeping with two of his cousins after smashing the doors and windows and attacking him with the levers they used to break the doors and windows. They caused severe injuries on the head with crowbars and batons, dragged him and took him to an unknown destination. About two hours later, his death was announced in a statement issued by the Governor of Hebron.

The Civil Coalition to Protect Freedom of Expression and Digital Rights views with great seriousness the murder of political and human rights activist, Nizar Banat, who was previously subjected to a series of arrests and attacks in connection with expressing his opinion on Palestinian public matters. He had also received threats in order to silence him, the last of which was about two months ago when gunmen opened fire on his house.

The Freedom of Expression Coalition believes that what happened represents a serious setback for freedom of expression in Palestine, and falls within the assassination and liquidation operations against the backdrop of expressing opinion and political stance, and represents a dangerous turning point in the Palestinian march.

The coalition holds the Palestinian Authority and its security forces fully responsible for this incident and demands an impartial investigation committee to find out the merits of what happened and to punish all parties and individuals who were involved in it.

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