UN Calls for Independent Investigation into Prisoner’s Death

JERUSALEM, February 26, 2013 (WAFA) – The United Nations called Monday for an independent and transparent investigation into the death of Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat in Israeli jails, according to a statement.

Jaradat, 30, married with two young children, died Saturday while in Israeli detention six days after his arrest from his Sair, Hebron area, home.

Even though the Israeli Prison Service first claimed that he died of a heart attack, an Israeli-conducted autopsy found that his heart was fine at the time of his death and that marks all over his body indicated torture, which was the reason Palestinians said for his sudden death.

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, called for the independent investigation after meeting earlier in the day with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat to discuss the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention.

“The Special Coordinator takes note of the preliminary findings of the autopsy that was conducted on Mr. Jaradat’s body with the participation of Israeli and Palestinian experts,” said the statement. “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.”

According to the statement, Serry was “deeply saddened and concerned” about Jaradat’s death and sent his condolences to his family.

“The Special Coordinator reaffirms the position of the United Nations as expressed by the Secretary-General last week that international human rights obligations towards all Palestinian detainees and prisoners in Israeli custody must be fully respected,” said the statement.

Serry noted the difficult situation of four Palestinian prisoners who have been on a long hunger strike exceeding three months and as much as seven months as well the situation of some 4500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, many of them held in administrative detention without charge or trial.

“The United Nations remains concerned about the deteriorating health of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike, and reiterates that those held in administrative detention without charge should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or promptly released,” said Serry, who also expressed concern for the rise in violence in the occupied territories as a result of the prisoners issue.

“The United Nations is closely monitoring the situation on the ground where mounting tensions present a real risk of destabilization. The United Nations appeals for maximum restraint by all parties to prevent further violence. The United Nations will continue engaging with the parties on the ground with a view to finding a solution that addresses the plight of prisoners and preserves the calm,” concluded Serry.

Source: WAFA News