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Jurists and journalists arrested in a memorial for Nizar Banat in Ramallah

On Saturday, August 21, 2021, security forces arrested dozens of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society activists in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

This took place during a memorial stand for the extrajudicially killed by the Palestinian security services, Nizar Banat, who was killed about a month and a half ago.

Forces from the General Intelligence and Preventive Security attacked the participants in the vigil and arrested most of them.

Journalist Samer Khweira, who works for Watan News Agency, published statements in which he said: “These arrests are unprecedented. If jurists, representatives of civil society, and journalists get arrested; who will defend opponents and the citizens,”

He also stated that the PA security services do not care about any calls to stop the arrests. Moreover, at the political level, the PA refuses to deal with the matter, which means clear complicity in the crimes of the security services.

He called for the intervention of the international community to release those who represent the human rights, academic, and media sector in Palestine.

Among the detainees were the activist and member of the National Assembly for Change Omar Assaf, the liberated captive and leader of the Islamic Jihad movement Maher Al-Akhras, a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front Ibrahim Abu Hijleh, the former candidate for the Legislative Council Jihad Abdo, the former candidate for the Legislative Council Bassam Al-Qawasmi and his son Ubadah, and the liberated prisoner, the director of the Bissan Research Center, Abi Al-Aboudi, human rights lawyers Kawthar Al-Abwini and Doha Muaddi, the human rights defender Abdel Hadi Abu Shamsa, the two community activists Hamza Zubaidat and Youssef Amr, Ghassan Al-Saadi, a civil activist, university professor Imad Al-Barghouti, retired Major General Youssef Al-Sharqawi, and Musa Abu Sharar, a well-known activist in the West Bank. They were transferred to the investigation centers of the security services, and their fate remains unknown so far.

In our organization, we stand in solidarity with all detainees arrested in this stand, and we call on the Palestinian Authority to release them immediately and to protect their lives and personal security. We also call on the international human rights organizations and the international community to intervene to stop the Palestinian security services’ intrusion on citizens, jurists, and journalists.

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