Carter Center calls on PA to halt crackdown on political opponents

The Carter Center called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end its crackdown on political opponents and refrain from any actions that restrict the fundamental freedoms of Palestinian citizens, including their rights of assembly and expression.

On June 24, Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat died when PA security forces raided his home in Hebron in the southern West Bank. According to his family, PA security officers used explosives to blow open the door of Banat’s residence, pepper-sprayed him, and violently beat him.

Banat was a sharp critic of the PA and a candidate on the Freedom and Dignity list for the canceled May 22 legislative elections.

In the past month, PA security forces have detained dozens of political opponents, including human rights defender Issa Amro and members of another electoral list, the Democratic Reform Bloc, for criticizing the Palestinian Authority.

The government has justified some detentions under the cybercrimes law, which human rights groups have constantly warned is being used by the PA to squeeze online freedom of expression.

"The public prosecution office has launched an investigation into the cause of Banat’s death. An independent investigation should be carried out as well, and those responsible must be brought to justice. Additionally, the Palestinian Authority should release activists arrested for criticizing the PA and revise the laws under which such arrests are justified."

Source : Safa