Press statement of AMAN on the death of activist Nizar Banat
This morning, we have been bereaved by reports on the death of political and social activist Nizar Banat, candidate of the Freedom and Dignity Bloc to the legislative elections, which were cancelled in May 2021. Banat died while he was being arrested by a Palestinian security force. According to the testimony of his relatives, Banat was subjected to excessive use of force and assault, constituting a flagrant violation of the human rights and dignity of Palestinian citizens and provisions of the Palestinian Basic Law. Directors and officials of Palestinian security forces are held responsible for the assault.
Of particular importance, a commission of inquiry should be established immediately, comprising prominent national figures of recognised honesty and integrity. To also gain approval of the victim’s family, the commission will publish the results of the inquiry with all due transparency to the Palestinian public. The inquiry will identify and hold to account those responsible for this crime, including the persons who issued the arrest warrant, made the decision to send the security force, and assaulted Banat. Still, the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) considers that it is extremely important to protect our national project through a comprehensive reform of the Palestinian political.
This crime is an inevitable and natural outcome of an authoritarian regime that lacks rule of law and judicial independence. It is compounded by weak transparency and integrity of public administration and management of public finances, as well as by much weaker integrity of governance. The right to freedoms of expression, criticism, accountability, and participation is not respected, resulting in further Palestinian public distrust in their leadership and putting at risk community safety. It also undermines the real role and national responsibility of security forces for safeguarding Palestinian citizens’ security and dignity.
The concentration of all three powers in the hands of the one absolute power can only yield absolute corruption, heaping further woes on our people, wasting their potential, gravely threatening social fabric, and eliminating any hope of liberation and living in dignity in their homeland. This calls for an immediate restoration of Palestinian citizens’ right, which has been suspended for over a decade, to political participation by holding general elections. The Palestinian decision on the elections may not be subject to the will of the Israeli occupying authorities.