February 25, 2013

Prison death fuels Mideast unrest

The death of a Palestinian gas station attendant in Israeli custody leads to new West Bank clashes.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Palestinians take cover during clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday, following the death of Arafat Jaradat, a Palestinian prisoner held in an Israeli prison.

The Associated Press

On Sunday, Israel's forensics institute performed an autopsy attended by a physician from the Palestinian Authority.

After being briefed by the Palestinian physician, Issa Karake, the Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs, told a news conference late Sunday that Jaradat had suffered two broken ribs on the right side of his chest. The autopsy also showed bruises on Jaradat's back and chest.

NO SIGN OF HEART ATTACK

Israeli officials initially said Jaradat apparently died of a heart attack, but Karake said the Palestinian physician told him there was no evidence of that.

Jaradat "faced harsh torture, leading to his immediate, direct death. Israel is fully responsible for his killing," Karake said.

Israel's Health Ministry said Jaradat did not suffer from disease and that it was not possible yet to determine his cause of death conclusively.

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said the Shin Bet routinely holds detainees in isolation for extended periods during interrogation, keeping them in cells where the lights are never turned off.

Citing prisoner affidavits, B'Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said physical mistreatment has dropped sharply in recent years but has not disappeared.

Detainees have filed some 700 complaints about mistreatment by Shin Bet agents in the past decade, but none has led to a criminal investigation, she said.

 

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