Autopsy: Palestinian Prisoner Died of 'Extreme Torture' in Israeli Custody

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Common Dreams

Autopsy: Palestinian Prisoner Died of 'Extreme Torture' in Israeli Custody

by
Craig Brown, staff writer

Arafat Jaradat, a father of a 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, worked as a gas station attendant and his wife, Dalal, is pregnant.

An autopsy on the body of Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old father of two, showed that he died of "extreme torture" in Israeli custody and did not have a cardiac arrest, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Detainee Affairs said Sunday.

Thousands of Palestinians prisoners are holding a hunger strike Sunday after the death of Jaradat and protests have erupted all across the occupied Palestinian territories.

"About 3,000 prisoners announced that they would refuse meals," Sivan Weizman, Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman, told Agence France Presse on Sunday.

Arafat Jaradat died on Saturday in an Israeli jail. Jaradat was not on a hunger strike. Weizman of the Israel Prisons Service claimed that Jaradat died of an "apparent heart attack." Jaradat's family alleged that Jaradat was tortured by his captors and that he was very healthy at the time of his arrest on February 18. Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) and the Shin Bet had arrested Jaradat at his home in the town of Sa’eer at midnight accusing him of throwing stones at cars at a nearby settlement.

Israel’s main forensics institute performed an autopsy Sunday, with a Palestinian physician in attendance. Israeli officials said Sunday afternoon that that no evidence of any disease was discovered but that autopsy findings were "preliminary and inconclusive."

However Palestine's Ma'an news agency is reporting:

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An autopsy has revealed that Arafat Jaradat died of extreme torture in Israeli custody and did not have a cardiac arrest, the PA Minister of Detainee Affairs said Sunday.

At a news conference in Ramallah, Issa Qaraqe said an autopsy conducted in Israel in the presence of Palestinian officials revealed that 30-year-old Jaradat had six broken bones in his neck, spine, arms and legs.

"The information we have received so far is shocking and painful. The evidence corroborates our suspicion that Mr. Jaradat died as a result of torture, especially since the autopsy clearly proved that the victim's heart was healthy, which disproves the initial alleged account presented by occupation authorities that he died of a heart attack," Qaraqe said.[...]

The minister said Jaradat had sustained injuries and severe bruising in the upper right back area and severe bruises of sharp circular shape in the right chest area[...] evidence of severe torture and on the muscle of the upper left shoulder, parallel to the spine in the lower neck area, and evidence of severe torture under the skin and inside the muscle of the right side of the chest. His second and third ribs in the right side of the chest were broken, Qaraqe said, and he also had injuries in the middle of the muscle in the right hand...Palestinian Prisoners Society president Qaddura Fares added that the autopsy revealed seven injuries to the inside of Jaradat's lower lip, bruises on his face and blood on his nose...... no signs of bruising or stroke, the minister added. [...]

"Jaradat died due to torture and not a stroke or heart attack," he said, adding that those responsible must be sued either through Interpol or the International Criminal Court.

Jaradat's lawyer Kameel Sabbagh said he was tortured by Israeli interrogators. [...] "When I entered the courtroom I saw Jaradat sitting on a wooden chair in front of the judge. His back was hunched and he looked sick and fragile," Sabbagh said in a statement Sunday.

"When I sat next to him he told me that he had serious pains in his back and other parts of his body because he was being beaten up and hanged for many long hours while he was being investigated. When Jaradat heard that the judge postponed his hearing he seemed extremely afraid."

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