Nizar Banat's brother says the PA 'is not interested in delivering justice'

Nizar Banat's brother says the PA 'is not interested in delivering justice'
3 min read
West Bank
24 June, 2022
The family of Nizar Banat, the murdered Palestinian activist, said they will seek justice in international courts, rather than Palestinian ones.
The controversy arrives two days before the first anniversary of Banat's death [Qassam Muaddi/TNA]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is "not interested in delivering justice", the family of slain Palestinian dissident Nizar Banat told The New Arab.

In May, the family said they will seek justice in international courts rather than Palestinian ones.

On Thursday, Banat's brother, Ghassan, doubled down on this and decried the slow course of justice in the Palestinian Territories.

"We have already addressed our request for assistance in seeking justice to Amnesty International and to the UN," he told The New Arab.

"We genuinely believe that the Palestinian Authority has no interest in delivering justice for Nizar, and what's worse, we think it agrees with its security members’ behaviour."

It comes after the PA ordered the release of 14 members of the PA security forces who are on trial over the the death of the opposition activist, who suffered fatal injuries during his detention by Palestinian security forces in Hebron on June 2021.

Palestinian experts established later that Banat had been beaten to death.

The death sparked a wave of protests against the PA in the West Bank, leading to the arrest of 14 security members and the start of the trial.

Their release came just two days before the first anniversary of Nizar Banat's death.

Palestinian security sources told The New Arab's sister publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, on Wednesday that the suspects were released to allow them to complete medical checkups, on condition they return to custody in time for their next hearing on 3 July.

"The release was requested by the military prosecution, bypassing the court, which is illegal," Muhannad Karajah, spokesperson for the Palestinian Lawyers for Justice group, which has been following Nizar Banat's case, told The New Arab.

"It sends a dangerous message that the prosecution is biased toward the suspects, while it is supposed to represent the public right. How are Palestinian citizens supposed to trust the prosecution after this?"

He added that the court has repeatedly prolonged the trial into the killing for no clear reason with one hearing postponed three times since May.

In December, a group of civil society activists and the Banat family formed a national commission to seek justice for Nizar Banat.

On Wednesday, the commission condemned the release of the suspects, calling for "ending the security interference in Palestinian judiciary" in a statement.

On Friday, Amnesty International also condemned the obstacles faced by the family in their pursuit for justice.

"The flawed military trial of 14 low-ranking security officers will not bring about justice. There needs to be a civilian trial following international standards, not just a smokescreen to protect those higher up," said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. 

"It is essential that the individuals who gave orders to arrest Nizar Banat for no lawful reason, and who oversaw the assault, are also held to account."