Palestinian security forces raid homes of relatives of deceased activist Nizar Banat
Palestinian security forces raided the homes of deceased activist Nizar Banat's relatives' homes on Tuesday morning, according an account by Nizar's brother, Ghassan.
This is the third time that the security forces stormed the Banat family home since September 27th, when 14 members of the security forces appeared in court over Nizar's death, Ghassan told The New Arab, .
Hussein Banat, an eyewitness of the PA raid which led to Nizar Banat's killing last June, was arrested by security forces on the day of the court hearing.
His family believe this was because of his testimony against the security forces regarding Nizar's murder.
"I am sure that they arrested Hussein because of his testimony concerning Colonel Tumeizi ordering his men to beat Nizar ... because Hussein is a main eye-witness, and because he has no previous trouble with the law ... there is no reason we could think of for his arrest except his testimony" Ghassan told The New Arab.
"A PA official sent us a proposition to drop the case in court ... they offered us money and jobs, the raids and arrests are to pressure us to take those offers", he said, adding that the PA forces use violence as they break into their homes, leaving his family "continuously nervous and terrorised" while trying to hide the raid from their children.
14 PA security officers pleaded not guilty to accusations of abuse of power and violating military instructions at the 27th September court hearing.
Nizar Banat's family have demanded that security forces be held accountable for his death, saying President Mahmoud Abbas has deflected blame.
“This is an incomplete and partial court case, and everyone in it is a scapegoat, until the interior minister, the head of the Preventive Security Services, and his deputy are behind bars,” Banat’s brother, Ghassan, said outside the courthouse.
Nizar Banat died following his arrest on June 24th, and an autopsy report on the day of his death showed he was struck in the head and over his body with metal rods. The PA has promised to hold those responsible to account.
With over 100,000 followers on Facebook, Banat often accused the PA of corruption and criticised Abbas.