Anti-Corruption Activist Dies Hours After Being Arrested and Reportedly Beaten by Palestinian Security Forces
Nizar Banat, a prominent critic of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank died in the custody of Palestinian security forces soon after being arrested at his house Thursday, according to Palestinian officials and the man’s lawyer.
His family said that officers who stormed his bedroom began beating Banat while he was still in bed and that he was bleeding heavily from head wounds as they removed him from the house.
Banat was a well-known anti-corruption activist and opposition candidate who frequently called for Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, to be held accountable for government failures and malfeasance.
According to his lawyer, security officers entered the house in Hebron where Banat was staying about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, saying they had a warrant for his arrest. An unidentified person posted on Banat’s Facebook page within minutes that officers were taking him. “They have confiscated his computer, phone and all his belongings, and are brutally beating him,” the post read.
Palestinian officials in Hebron announced his death in statement shortly before 6 a.m.
Following an arrest summons for Nizar Khalil Muhammad Banat at dawn today, security forces arrested him, during which his health deteriorated, and he was immediately transferred to Hebron government hospital for examination, where it was found that he had passed away
Banat’s family said in interviews with Arab media that he had been in good health. They said officers beat him with a metal bar and pepper sprayed him. They called his death a “premeditated assassination.”