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Expert: Palestinian hanging death does not seem to be suicide

Nov. 17, 2014 8:06 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 3, 2014 12:28 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A medical expert told Ma'an that a Palestinian who was found hanged on a bus near Jerusalem earlier Monday died by "hanging and strangulation," and that preliminary tests suggest he was the victim of "an organized murder."

Earlier, bus driver Yousuf Hasan al-Ramouni, 32, was found hanged inside his bus at the Har Hotzvim terminal near Jerusalem, and police said in a statement that there was "no suspicion of criminal activity" and his death appeared to be a suicide.

But the medical expert, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Ma'an that al-Ramouni's death did not appear to be a suicide.

After an autopsy it was found that the man's first vertebra was not dislocated, which usually happens in the cases of suicide by hanging, the expert said.

He added that postmortem lividity, or livor mortis, was found on the buttocks of the body and not the lower limbs, which indicates that al-Ramouni was not dangled.

The expert said he assumed al-Ramouni was killed in a planned attack, and that conclusive evidence disproving or confirming his suspicions required lab work, which would take over three months.

But Israeli police contradicted the expert's report.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted: "Autopsy of Arab bus driver that died last night completed. Findings are -- incident not criminal related whatsoever. Body transferred to family."

Earlier, al-Ramouni's fellow bus driver Muatasem Fakeh said he had seen evidence that the death was not a suicide.

"We saw signs of violence on his body," Fakeh told AFP.

"He was hanged over the steps at the back of the bus in a place where it would be impossible to hang yourself alone," he added.

The victim's brother, Osama al-Ramouni said the family did not accept the verdict of suicide, saying his body "had bruises on it," suggesting he had been "tortured" before his death.

AFP contributed to this report.
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