‘No justice’ – PA to be sued at ICC by slain activist’s family

Activist’s brother says he was murdered because he “challenged Mahmoud Abbas and was telling people the truth about the real situation of the Palestinian Authority.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The family of a Palestinian political activist who was severely beaten by Palestinian Authority security forces and later died in their custody announced their intention to sue the PA at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday.

Nizar Banat, a well-known critic of embattled PA President Mahmoud Abbas, died after his house was stormed by PA police in June 2021.

The raid occurred after Banat posted several videos on Facebook slamming Abbas’ cancellation of elections, urging the European Union to cut off aid to the PA until it agreed to uphold its obligations to the democratic process, and noting widespread corruption in the entity.

Armed men forced their way into Banat’s home, punched, kicked, and stomped on him in front of his family, then dragged him away into a waiting vehicle. Several hours later, the PA said that Banat had died in a laconic statement.

Banat’s death sparked widespread outrage and street protests, which are an unusual occurrence in PA-controlled cities.

“We demand justice for a man who was doing nothing but speaking the truth to power,” said an attorney for the Banat family, Hakan Camuz, in a public statement.

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A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted shortly after Banat’s death found that 63 percent of Palestinians believe that he was “deliberately” killed by the PA.

Banat’s brother, Ghassan, told AFP that the family had little faith in the Palestinian justice system as the reason why they turned to the ICC for accountability regarding his death.

“There is no enforcement of justice,” he said. “We understood that the regime of the Palestinian Authority, the police, the security officers, have more authority than the court, that they were above the court.

“That is why we have decided to move on to the international arena.”

He added that he believed his brother had been assassinated by the PA in a pre-planned attack because he “challenged Mahmoud Abbas and was telling people the truth about the real situation of the Palestinian Authority.”

It remains to be seen if the ICC will accept the Banat family’s case.

Last week, Qatari news outlet Al Jazeera announced that it had filed a complaint with the ICC against the state of Israel regarding the shooting death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.