(Photo Credit: Reuters)
The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) has determined that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for the torture and ill-treatment of civilians.
The CAT conducted several hearings during the investigation, discovering that the Palestinian National Security Forces frequently use lethal weapons when detaining or interrogating civilians.
Among the most notable cases of abuse is the murder of Nizar Banat, an outspoken critic of the PA, who was killed by the security forces during a politically-motivated raid on his house on 24 June 2021.
AFP reported on 22 June that PA judicial sources confirmed the release of the officers held responsible for the death of Banat, claiming that an outbreak of COVID-19 in prisons was the reason for the release.
Banat’s family labeled the release as “manipulation and injustice.”
CAT began its investigation on 12 July, concluding two weeks later with an official report. They urged the PA to conduct prompt and effective investigations into complaints involving public officials, and to prosecute and punish them with the appropriate penalties.
On 29 July, the PA carried out one of its largest arrest campaigns in years against Palestinian activists, journalists, and students in the occupied West Bank. At least 94 people have been detained over the last two months.
The Ramallah-based organization, Lawyers for Justice, also reported that at least 20 university students and political activists are currently in PA custody without charge.
While most of the arrested activists are affiliated with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resistance movement, some of those detained come from the PA’s own Fatah party, as well as the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Over the past few years, there have been major concerns over the close security cooperation between the PA and Israeli troops.
In early January, an Israeli official revealed that PA forces carried out raids in the West Bank city of Jenin at the direct request of the Israeli forces.
The PA, which regularly coordinates with Israel, has been accused of being an extension of the occupation, as well as a tool to assist Israel in its oppression of Palestinians.