The physique of Banat, 45, was borne aloft via the streets of Hebron the place he lived, following a funeral ceremony on the mosque. Crowds, estimated by CNN at 15,000 in quantity, walked behind the physique waving Palestinian flags, proclaiming him a martyr.
Individuals chanted, “Abu Mazen is a traitor” — referring to Abbas by the widespread Arabic kunya “Abu” which means “father of” — and “The folks say, ‘Down with the Authority!'”
Lots of the mourners additionally carried the inexperienced flag of Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, and certainly one of Abbas’s primary political rivals.
Anti-PA protests have additionally been held in Ramallah and in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis exterior the al Aqsa mosque.
Banat was a well known and outspoken critic of Abbas and the PA, utilizing social media to denounce PA leaders for alleged corruption and incompetence.
One in every of his final posts on Fb slammed the PA over its botched swap take care of Israel for 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for coronavirus.
He was arrested within the early hours of Thursday in an operation involving about 20 armed officers, his household informed CNN, throughout which he was brutally overwhelmed, the household mentioned.
A preliminary post-mortem report launched by the Ramallah-based Impartial Fee for Human Rights with the blessing of Banat’s household, described accidents “within the type of bruises and abrasions in lots of areas of the physique, together with the top, neck, shoulders, chest, again, higher and decrease limbs, with cuffing marks on the wrists and rib fractures.”
The report mentioned preliminary post-mortem outcomes indicated an “irregular” demise however mentioned figuring out the principle explanation for demise would wish the outcomes of laboratory tissue checks.
Hebron Governor Jibreen Al Bakri mentioned Banat had died after “his well being deteriorated” throughout the arrest, which he mentioned had been ordered by the PA’s Lawyer Basic.
The PA has mentioned it should launch an inquiry into what occurred.
Standing together with his grandfather exterior the mosque Friday earlier than the funeral ceremony, Nizar’s 6-year-old son, Kifah, informed CNN, “I heard from my mom that they assassinated my father. They attacked and killed him, and I do not know why.”
Jihad Al Khatib, an older resident of town, informed CNN there was little doubt why Banat had been focused by the PA. “He’s the one which speaks towards the oppressor, and for the oppressed … They killed the hope in us. They killed him after he uncovered their corruption,” he mentioned.
Banat’s demise has drawn responses from throughout the worldwide group.
The US State division mentioned in a press release it was “deeply disturbed” by the demise and urged the PA “to conduct an intensive and clear investigation and to make sure full accountability on this case.”
The assertion went on: “Now we have critical considerations about Palestinian Authority restrictions on the train of freedom of expression by Palestinians and harassment of civil society activists and organizations.”
Human rights teams have been involved for years about what they are saying is the rising authoritarianism of the PA underneath President Abbas.
Particularly, they’re involved by the 2017 “Regulation on Digital Crimes” which permits “arbitrary restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, privateness and safety of information,” in accordance with Human Rights Watch.
Banat himself was arrested underneath that regulation final November and spent a number of days in detention after posting a video on social media sharply criticizing the PA management for the resumption of its coverage of safety coordination with Israeli forces.
That coverage, which sees PA safety forces typically working carefully with Israeli safety within the West Financial institution, had been suspended by Abbas over the specter of annexation by Israel’s authorities led by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Over time, although, Abbas has usually caught exhausting to the coverage, underneath stress from key worldwide supporters like the USA, the UK and others, which have been closely concerned in coaching PA safety forces.
Palestinians typically see safety coordination as helping Israel in its navy occupation of their land, and folks in Hebron expressed anger at what they mentioned will need to have been cooperation with Israel within the operation which resulted in Banat’s demise.
“It is a crime in all points,” Mazeed Saqf Al-Hait from Nablus informed CNN. “The PA is the principle suspect on this crime. Israel is a suspect as a associate on this crime as a result of [the PA arrest operation] requires safety coordination. Additionally, the US and the EU are companions within the crime via their monetary help to the safety forces. It’s the system that’s legal and is liable for the killing and needs to be held accountable.”
The demise comes lower than two months after President Abbas canceled elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, which haven’t been held since 2006, in a transfer which drew widespread criticism from many Palestinians.
Mustafa Barghouti, a long-time unbiased politician and human rights activist, informed CNN Banat’s demise is an especially damaging second for the Palestinian Authority.
“It proves that we can’t go on with out democratic elections, with out legislative authority, with out unbiased judiciary and with out separation of powers. Palestine wants greater than a safety system that’s unable to guard its folks from Israeli assaults. Palestine wants democracy and elections instantly,” he mentioned.