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Minister: PA to sue Israel over prisoner death

Feb. 27, 2013 5:12 A.M. (Updated: March 9, 2013 11:13 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority will sue Israel for the prison death of Arafat Jaradat, the minister of detainee affairs said Wednesday.

"We are preparing ourselves to sue Israel and we will go to international courts," Issa Qaraqe told Ma'an.

Jaradat, 30, died in Israel's Megiddo prison on Saturday, a week after he was arrested and accused of throwing stones.

An autopsy showed the father of two died from extreme torture, Qaraqe said Sunday. The PA's chief pathologist was present at the autopsy, which was conducted in Israel.

Israel says the autopsy was inconclusive.

Qaraqe said the ministry would complain to international courts as soon as the file was ready, but declined to set a date.

The minister also said Egypt was in constant contact with Israel about Palestinians on long-term hunger strike in Israeli jails. The PA asked Cairo to intervene, but "until now there are no results," Qaraqe said.

Egypt brokered the October 2011 prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas, in which Ayman Sharawna and Samer Issawi were granted amnesty.

Both men were rearrested. Apart from a brief period in December, Sharawna has been on hunger strike since July. Issawi has also been on hunger strike for over 200 days.

Meanwhile, administrative detainees Tareq Qaadan and Jafar Azzidine could not attend a court hearing on Tuesday due to their health conditions, their lawyer Jawad Boulos said.

They have been on hunger strike for 92 days in protest at their detention without charge or trial.

Israel 'can't be exempt'

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority called for an international investigation of Arafat's death.

The Israeli government "can't be exempt from the responsibility over his death, especially since the circumstances of his martyrdom cannot be separated from the fact that they occurred during his detention and interrogation in occupation prison inside Israel, which is in itself a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention," the PA cabinet said in a statement.

The cabinet also emphasized the need "to monitor what is happening inside these prisons, especially in the interrogation cells, as well as the type of health care provided to ill prisoners."

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