© Reuters. Palestinian demonstrators attend an anti-Palestinian Authority protest, forty days after the loss of life of Nizar Banat, a critic of the Palestinian Authority, in Ramallah within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution August 2, 2021 REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

By Ali Sawafta and Zainah El-Haroun

RAMALLAH, West Financial institution (Reuters) – A Palestinian navy court docket on Monday started the trial of 14 safety officers charged with beating to loss of life a distinguished critic of President Mahmoud Abbas, in a case that has drawn widespread protests and requires his resignation.

Nizar Banat’s loss of life following his arrest on June 24 has heightened https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/criticism-palestinian-security-forces-raises-pressure-abbas-2021-06-30 criticism of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority and his safety forces, who human rights teams say often arrest critics within the occupied West Financial institution. Abbas denies the fees.

An post-mortem https://www.reuters.com/breakingviews/critic-abbas-dies-palestinian-custody-un-demands-investigation-2021-06-24 carried out the day Banat died confirmed he was struck within the head and over the physique with steel rods, resulting in his loss of life. The PA, which has restricted self-rule within the West Financial institution, has vowed to carry these accountable to account.

Showing in Monday’s court docket session within the West Financial institution metropolis of Ramallah, the indicted officers pleaded not responsible as prosecutors learn out a cost sheet together with battery, abuse of energy and violation of navy directions.

However Banat’s household have demanded that senior Palestinian officers be held to account over his loss of life, accusing Abbas and his prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, of deflecting blame.

“That is an incomplete and partial court docket case, and everybody in it’s a scapegoat, till the inside minister, the top of the Preventive Safety Companies and his deputy are behind bars,” Banat’s brother, Ghassan, stated outdoors the courthouse.

Safety Companies spokesman Talal Dweikat stated on Sept. 5 that an inner inquiry discovered its deputy director for town of Hebron, the place Banat was arrested, was not concerned in his loss of life. The indicted officers’ lawyer didn’t present remark.

With over 100,000 followers on Fb (NASDAQ:), Banat usually accused the PA of corruption and criticised Abbas’s postponement of a long-delayed election in Might. Banat had registered as a parliamentary candidate for that contest.

Stress has mounted on Abbas, 85, since Banat’s loss of life, and his approval ranking has additional plummeted.

Some 78% need Abbas to resign, a September ballot by the Palestinian Middle for Coverage and Survey Analysis discovered, a ten % improve from a ballot the group launched three months earlier, earlier than Banat’s loss of life.

The following listening to for the 14 officers is about to happen on Oct. 4.

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