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Yesterday, a Palestinian detainee in Megiddo prison died of an apparent heart attack, and resuscitation attempts didn’t help.
A statement issued by the Shin Bet said that Jaradat was arrested last week on suspicion he hurled stones at an Israeli civilian during Operation Pillar of Defense. On Saturday, he fell ill and medics were unable to save him. Police launched an investigation. Jaradat’s family was notified immediately after his death.
Investigators have already started collecting testimonies from guards at the prison and those in contact with Jaradat before his death. Defense officials have offered Palestinian Authority officials to be involved in the autopsy, if one is conducted, and said they will be updated on the investigation.
The anti-Israel groups were quick to condemn Israel without knowing what happened, basing their claims on a rumour propagated by Palestinian officials that he died while being interrogated by the Shin Bet.
It was announced today that Palestinian from Sa’ir village, West Bank, died while in ISA (shabak) interrogation.
— J Montell, B’Tselem (@JessicaMontell) February 23, 2013
MT @sheikhnbArafat Jaradat, 30, arrested 4 stone-throwing in Nov. after being hit in stomach w teargas round, died in interrogation 2day
— Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) February 23, 2013
Today, there were riots across Judea and Samaria, and an autopsy was done on behalf of practically everyone. The preliminary results are inconclusive as of yet, apart from 2 broken ribs. This is the official response from the Israeli Ministry of Health:
This afternoon (Sunday, 24 February 2013), at the National Center for Forensic Medicine, an autopsy was performed on the body of Arafat Jaradat by Prof. Yehuda Hiss, in the presence of Prof. Arnon Afek, Director of the Health Administration at the Ministry of Health, and Palestinian pathologist Dr. Saber Aloul. During the autopsy, no signs of external trauma were found apart from those pertaining to resuscitation [attempts] and a small graze on the right side of his chest. No evidence of disease was found during the autopsy. Two internal hemorrhages were detected, one on the shoulder and one on the right side of the chest. Two ribs were broken, which may indicate resuscitation attempts. The initial findings cannot determine the cause of death. At this stage, until microscopic and toxicology reports are in, the cause of death cannot be tied to the autopsy findings.”
Enter the Palestinian propaganda.
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 full autopsy report will be completed in two weeks, which is 14 days too late. Already we have one sided reports such as the Guardian, which even interviewed his lawyer (gee, I bet he’s really objective and has no incentive to lie).
Kameel Sabbagh, a lawyer who attended Jaradat’s last hearing on Thursday, has claimed that he had advised the Israeli Judge that his client had been tortured and should be examined by the prison doctor. According to Sabbagh, this did not happen.
“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,” Sabbagh told Ma’an news agency. Sabbagh’s notes from the court hearing describe his client as “extremely afraid” of returning to his cell.
A rumour that he had been beaten to death during an interrogation spread quickly through Hebron on Sunday where hundreds of protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers for the second day running in the streets kilometres from Jaradat’s home.
“When the soldiers came to arrest him last week, they told him say goodbye to your wife and your babies, you won’t be seeing them again,” said Mohamed Hashlamon, 58, as he watched masked Palestinian youths hurl concrete blocks from the roof above his home in downtown Hebron to arm themselves with the rubble.
This has all the hallmarks of a second Al-Dura case, or at least an Israeli best documentary Oscar nomination. Israel is guilty until proven innocent, and in this case, the charges are thrown without even a full autopsy report.