SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-A Palestinian prisoner arrested by Israel in July died Tuesday after what the Israel Prison Authority claimed was a suicide attempt, but what a Palestinian official said was likely the result of torture.
The Palestinians named the man as Raed Abdel Salam al-Jaabari, 35, and called for an independent probe, describing the circumstances of his death as “mysterious.”
The victim’s father Abdel Salam said that his wife and four children had spoken to him as recently as Sunday, and that he appeared to be in good physical condition, according Palestinian news agency Ma’an.
Issa Qaraqaa, head of the Palestinian committee responsible for prisoners, placed the blame for his death squarely on Israel, noting that Jaabari was “tortured while being transferred” between prisons.
Prisons spokeswoman Sivan Weizman told AFP he had hanged himself in a bathroom at Eshel prison in the southern city of Beersheva.
She said a medical team had tried to revive him but that he was pronounced dead on arrival at Soroka hospital in the city.
She said he was serving time for assault and making threats but had no specific details.
A relative told AFP the father of four had been arrested near the Kfar Etzion junction in the southern West Bank after a car accident and charged with attempting to run over some Jewish settlers.
However, he insisted that there was only a car accident, and no attempted assault.
He also ruled out any question of Jaabari taking his own life.
Palestinian officials also ruled out suicide and blamed Israel for his death, with the Ramallah-based Prisoners Club calling for an impartial investigation.
Jaabari “died today in Eshel prison under mysterious circumstances,” a statement said.
Prisoners’ Club director Qadura Fares “cast doubt on the occupation’s claims that the prisoner committed suicide and asked international organizations to investigate his death,” it said.
Qaraqaa placed the blame for his death squarely on Israel.
“Israel is responsible for his death,” he told AFP.
“The Israelis say he tried to hang himself but it is not true,” he said.
“This is a war crime.”
Israel Prisons Service figures up to July 31 show there are 5,383 Palestinians being held by Israel for security offences, among them 446 who are being held without charge under so-called administrative detention orders.
Such orders can be renewed indefinitely for six-month periods with prisoners not told the charges and therefore unable to challenge them.