Palestinian activists demand end to 'political detentions' ahead of their trials in Ramallah
Palestinians activists protested on Sunday in front of a court complex in Ramallah, ahead of their trials, demanding greater accountability and freedoms in the Palestinian Territories.
Some 35 activists - who took part in the protests last summer against the death of Palestinian dissident, Nizar Banat - were subject to a court hearing at the Ramallah first-instance court.
They are facing charges for attending an "illegal gathering", "insulting high dignities", and "promoting sectarian discord".
Dressed in orange jumpsuits, the activists protested outside the court building holding signs that demanded greater political freedoms.
The group included archeologist and poet, Khaldun Bishara, member of Ramallah municipal council, Omar Assaf, and academic and researcher, Ubai Aboudi, among others.
35 political and human rights activists accused of protesting the murder of anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat, who was beaten to death by Palestinian security forces. They are also accused of insulting Palestinian leaders. They will appear before a Ramallah court tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/RvVCCXpbht— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) December 18, 2021
Aboudi told The New Arab the group wanted to "voice opposition to the policy of political detention and repression of public liberties, as well as to demand free and democratic elections".
Earlier in November, the Ramallah court declared innocent another seven activists, who were charged over protests after the death of Nizar Banat.
Aboudi considered that "mobilisation on the streets over the past months has given some results, but we will not stop mobilising until we achieve real change".
The activists' demands were read in public by Omar Assaf, a member of the municipal council for Ramallah.
In the statement, protesters demanded "free and democratic elections" and "a complete end to political detentions and trials".
Protesters also said the cases were being used to "suppress public liberties" and that they will "not be part of it".
Video | Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrate in the city of Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank, in protest of last month's assassination of prominent opposition activist Nizar Banat by the Palestinian Authority (PA), today.#NizarBanat pic.twitter.com/r3lAMYzXpd— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) July 23, 2021
Assaf told The New Arab that the protesters are considering a boycott of the hearings.
"For the moment we will continue to protest in the street... we will continue to voice our demand for free and democratic elections," he said.
In June, activist Nizar Banat, an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority, died during his arrest by Palestinian security forces.