The security personnel have been formally accused of "beatings causing death, abuse of power and violations of security instructions," says Palestinian security service spokesman Talal Dweikat.

In this August 2, 2021 file photo, demonstrators attend an protest after the death of Nizar Banat in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
In this August 2, 2021 file photo, demonstrators attend an protest after the death of Nizar Banat in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (Reuters)

Fourteen members of the Palestinian security forces will face a military trial after being formally accused over the killing of prominent activist Nizar Banat, whose death sparked protests and global condemnation.

Banat – a leading critic of the Palestinian Authority and its 86-year old president Mahmoud Abbas – died in June after security forces stormed his home in the flashpoint city of Hebron and dragged him away.

A post-mortem found he had been beaten on the head, chest, neck, legs and hands, with less than an hour elapsing between his arrest and his death.

Banat's family has said it has no confidence in the PA's capacity to deliver justice, and called for an international probe.

But the PA, notably Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh, has promised accountability, and ordered a full investigation.

READ MORE: Autopsy shows head blows in death of Abbas critic as UN seeks probe

'An embarrassment'

Palestinian security service spokesman Talal Dweikat said on Monday that 14 of the service's personnel have been formally accused of "beatings causing death, abuse of power and violations of security instructions."

Under the Palestinian justice system in the West Bank – a territory occupied by Israel since 1967 – a Palestinian military court will conduct the trial.

Banat's family last month stepped up their fight for international justice, seeking intervention from British police and the UN.

Nizar's brother Ghasan Khalil Banat said "the so-called investigation that was carried out into his murder is an embarrassment and the PA should feel ashamed of it."

Activists have staged a series of protests in the occupied West Bank demanding justice for Banat.

The UN and the European Union last month raised alarm over a spate of arrests of activists by Palestinian security forces since Banat's death, warning the PA appeared to be cracking down on basic freedoms across the West Bank.

READ MORE: Is the Palestinian Authority on the verge of collapse?

Source: AFP