RAMALLAH, Palestine 

A group of European diplomats offered their condolences Thursday to the family of slain Palestinian critic and outspoken activists Nizar Banat in the town of Dura in the occupied West Bank. 

“On behalf of the visiting diplomats, European Union Representative Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff expressed deep sadness and serious concern over this heinous crime,” said a statement by the European Union’s representative office in Palestine.

During the visit, the EU diplomats, who are from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Norway, reiterated the EU’s call for “an independent and transparent investigation that brings the perpetrators to justice.”

“Violence in all its forms against peaceful political opponents, civil society activists…is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” the statement concluded.

On June 24, the Palestinian Authority announced the death of Banat shortly after his arrest by security forces at his home.

The Palestinian government-formed investigation committee submitted its report on Tuesday to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and demanded referring it to the judicial authorities.

Justice Minister Mohammad al-Shalaldeh and the head of the committee said Banat’s death was “unnatural.”

The death of Banat, 44, on Thursday sparked widespread outrage among Palestinians who rallied in various cities in the West Bank, where Palestinian security forces brutally attacked protesters.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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