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Prisoner says slain cellmate was killed in span of minutes

Sept. 17, 2014 7:34 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 17, 2014 7:34 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian prisoner on Monday said he saw a cellmate believed to have been beaten to death by Israeli prison guards last week only minutes before his death.

Nassim Abu Ghosh, a lawyer from the Palestinian Authority Prisoner Affairs department, said that he met with prisoner Muhammad Said al-Azza in Ashkelon on Monday, where he was told the information regarding the deceased Raed al-Jabari.

Al-Azza told Abu Ghosh that he was with al-Jabari in Ofer along with another prisoner identified as Abu Jad, who was being moved with al-Jabari to Eshel prison.

"We arrived in Ramla and it was normal," al-Azza was quoted as saying. "We had dinner and prayed and headed to sleep."

"In the morning when we arrived to Eshel, Raed and Abu Jad were taken inside the prison and I stayed in the vehicle. 15 minutes later, one of the soldiers came and told me that Raed was dead."

Al-Azza said that he yelled at the soldier and asked him why he had said his cellmate was dead, but "the soldier did not answer me. He hit me on my leg and shut the door of the vehicle, and then I was then taken to Ashkelon."

Palestinian officials said on Friday that an autopsy suggested that Raed al-Jabari had been beaten to death by Israeli guards in prison, after Israeli prison authorities said he had hanged himself in a bathroom.

The injuries suffered by al-Jabari -- including internal bleeding and a concussion -- did not match the details of his death described by Israeli officials, Palestinian forensic experts said.
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