The United Nations on Monday called for an independent inquiry into the deaths of Palestinian prisoners who have died in Israeli custody. It also warned that mounting tensions could erupt in violence in the Occupied Territories, the AFP said.
UN Middle East peace envoy, Robert Serry, made the call in a statement following talks with Palestinian Prime Minister in Ramallah, Salam Fayyad, after the death of Arafat Jaradat at the weekend.
Serry noted that Israeli and Palestinian experts had examined the body but said that, “the United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr Jaradat’s death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible.”
Jaradat, from the Sa’eer neighbourhood in Hebron, was detained on February 18 and died inside the Mageddo Prison five days later.
The Israeli Prison Service said that Jaradat appeared to have died of a heart attack. However, the Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, citing the results of the autopsy carried out by Palestinian doctors, reported that there were no blood clots in Jaradat’s heart and that he had sustained broken ribs and bruises to his body and face.
A letter sent by the Palestinian UN ambassador, Riyad Mansour, to the Security Council said the autopsy revealed that Jaradat “was subjected to severe beatings, abuse and medical negligence during his captivity, possibly amounting to torture.”
The letter said: “This horrific incident is further proof of the inhumane treatment systematically meted out by Israel against Palestinians in its jails.”
The letter called for an “impartial investigation” and Security Council action to force Israel to abide by humanitarian law.
In an attempt to control the direction of the resulting protest attended by thousands of Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority Security Services honoured Jaradat with a military funeral processions and carried his body in a military jeep at the head of the demonstration.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, expressed concern last week about the deteriorating state of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails. He said that the rights of all Palestinian detainees must be fully respected.