Nizar Banat committee results referred to military judiciary

Palestinian Authority PM refers Nizar Banat death report to military judiciary
2 min read
30 June, 2021
Palestinian Justice Minister Muhammad Al-Shalaldeh said on state television that such a referral was advocated by the committee investigating Nizar Banat's death in custody.
Shtayyeh revealed there was to be a committee on the same day as Banat's death [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

The initial report of an investigation into the death in detention of Palestinian Authority (PA) critic Nizar Banat has been referred to the administration's military judiciary.

Premier Mohammad Shtayyeh was given the document on Tuesday, according to the official Wafa news agency.

Banat, from Hebron in the West Bank, died in custody after being taken from his home by Palestinian security forces.

A post-mortem showed that the 44-year-old died within an hour of being detained and that he had been hit in areas of his body, including his head and neck.

Banat's family insist he was murdered.

Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Shalaldeh said on state television that such a referral was advocated by the committee, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported.

Al-Shalaldeh was selected to lead the committee, which was revealed by Shtayyeh on the same day as Banat's death.

According to Al-Shalaldeh's statement, the committee met with witnesses and other relevant parties, including Banat's relatives, present when he was detained. 

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A physician working on his relatives' behalf was involved with the committee for the first two days and was present at a post-mortem. It was not immediately clear if this was the same physician who discovered that Banat had died within an hour of his detention.

Security services spokesperson and General Political Commissioner Talal Dwaikat confirmed that the report had successfully made its way to the military judiciary's chief, Wafa reported.

Dwaikat noted that the body would immediately commence its probe.

He also said the committee's leader had been sent the civilian attorney general's report on the incident.

However, the government-created committee does not have the backing of his family, according to reports.

His relatives told media on Monday they demand an investigation comprised of half local and half international bodies and rights organisations.

Banat's father Khalil slammed the investigation, arguing that "all its parties are from the Palestinian Authority and this is the law of the jungle".