The head of the United Nations called on Tuesday for an end to the brutal crackdown on journalists and political opponents in the Palestinian Authority.
“We call on the Palestinian Authority to ensure that security forces ensure freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and peaceful assembly,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, said in a briefing to reporters.
Any “excessive use of force” should be “investigated and prosecuted in accordance with the law,” he said.
The comment came in the wake of the death of Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat during a raid on his home by PA security forces. Witnesses have alleged that he was beaten to death; results of an initial PA probe are pending.
Journalists covering the protests over Banat’s death have also been beaten by PA security forces, according to media reports.
Palestinian journalists held a sit-in on Monday in front of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Ramallah. They demanded international protection from police brutality.
“We have our human rights colleagues on the ground who witnessed both Palestinian security forces and non-uniformed persons using force against protesters, as well as journalists and human rights officers, who are themselves documenting the event,” Dujarric said. “Several people have been injured, as you probably have seen.”