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Palestinian Journalists Rally, Urge UN to Protect Them After Activist Kills
Dozens of Palestinian journalists gather outside a UN building in Ramallah to demand press freedom following violent clashes with Palestinian Authority police sparked by the death of an activist in detention.
Nizar Banat, a 43-year-old man from Hebron known for his social media videos lamenting alleged corruption within the Palestinian Authority, died last week shortly after security forces stormed him. home and violently arrested him, according to his family.
Days of clashes between demonstrators and police left several journalists injured.
According to Reporters Without Borders, during the weekend unrest in the West Bank, 12 Palestinian journalists, including five women, were assaulted by Palestinian Authority police.
Naila Khalil, a reporter for The New Arab, said Palestinian journalists had submitted a letter to the UN urging the world organization to “take the necessary and immediate steps” to protect media freedom.
Mohammed Gharafi of the Ultra Palestine news site says he was harassed by PA security forces who threatened to confiscate his phone if he didn’t stop filming the protests.
PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said those responsible for Banat’s death “will be held accountable,” according to the official WAFA news agency.
According to an autopsy, Banat was beaten on the head, chest, neck, legs and hands within an hour of his arrest and death.
Banat had registered as a candidate in the Palestinian legislative elections, which had been set for May until PA President Mahmoud Abbas postponed them indefinitely.