Death of Palestinian critic and activist Nizar Banat: 14 defendants released on bail

The men accused of being responsible for his death spoke about the spread of the coronavirus in their prison

Fourteen members of the Palestinian security forces accused of being responsible for the June 2021 death of Nizar Banat, an activist and critic of President Mahmoud Abbas, have been released on bail, a senior Palestinian security official told AFP on Wednesday.

According to this source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, these 14 people had asked Tuesday to be released on bail, which the prosecutor accepted, provided that they attend the hearings of their trial.

Arguing about the spread of the coronavirus in the prison in which they are held in the West Bank, the prosecutor of the Palestinian security forces Abdelnasser Jarrar asked to release them until July 2, placing them under the responsibility of the security forces for which they have work .

This release should allow them to “monitor their state of health and take the necessary examinations”, confirmed the prosecutor on Tuesday in a letter sent to the director of security intelligence.

On Wednesday, his wife Jihan called the release of the defendants “a clear injustice”. “We have said more than once that the killer cannot be a judge. If the Palestinian Authority is worried about the spread of the coronavirus, why does it not release all the other prisoners held in other business?” she said.

A human rights activist known for his videos posted on social media criticizing the Palestinian Authority of Mr. Abbas, whom he accused of corruption, Nizar Banat, 43, died in custody in June 2021, shortly after his arrest by Palestinian forces.

His death had led to demonstrations sometimes enamelled with blows in Ramallah, the city where the Palestinian Authority sits, under the cries of “Abbas get out” and “Justice for Nizar”.

Fourteen people present during his arrest have been charged with “beatings leading to death, abuse of power and violation of security instructions”, according to the Palestinian security services.

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