Abbas critic Nizar Banat dies in raid on his home by PA security officers


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Abbas critic Nizar Banat dies in raid on his home by PA security officers
The raid and killing of a prominent critic of Mahmoud Abbas took place as the PA has stepped up its security crackdown on political opponents.
JUNE 24, 2021

PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Thursday ordered the formation of a special commission of inquiry to investigate the death of Nizar Banat, a prominent anti-corruption activist from the Hebron area. Banat, 44, a longtime critic of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, died during a raid by PA security officers on his home in the town of Dura. Banat’s relatives said about 25 security officers severely beat him with clubs and other objects while he was still asleep.

Some Palestinians compared his death to the gruesome killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 by agents of the Saudi government. The death of Banat triggered a wave of protests by many Palestinians, who accused the PA of “assassinating” the activist. In graphic photos that surfaced on social media, Banat appeared to have many bruises on his body. During a demonstration organized by youth groups in Ramallah, protesters shouted slogans calling for the removal of Abbas from office. PA policemen used tear gas and clubs to disperse the protesters and prevent them from approaching his headquarters.