Israel Will Release Results of Palestinian Prisoner's Autopsy

Four inmates on hunger strike hospitalized but none in mortal danger, says Public Security Minister.

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Israel may allow an international organization to examine the results of the autopsy performed on Palestinian detainee Arafat Jaradat, who died in Megiddo Prison on Saturday, said Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch today.

Aharonovitch (Likud-Yisrael Beitenu) told the Knesset plenum that none of the information concerning the autopsy would be kept confidential and that it's possible that an international organization might participate in studying the results of the autopsy, which are expected next week.

Israeli officials initially said that Jaradat died of a heart attack, but a Palestinian doctor present during the autopsy claimed his death was the result of torture.

The minister was responding to questions from Members of Knesset about Jaradat's death as well as the state of other Palestinian prisoners.

 “There are three inmates who have been hospitalized as a result of their hunger strike and there is an additional inmate in an Israel Prison Service hospital," said Aharonovitch, adding that  "none of them is in mortal danger."

Balad party leader Jamal Zahalka asked the minister about the circumstances of Jaradat’s death and whether Israel was prepared to allow an international investigation.

"At the moment, it is impossible to determine the cause of death," said Aharonovitch. "The institute [the National Institute of Forensic Medicine] is awaiting the autopsy’s results and the possibility of the participation of international organizations is being considered.

 “None of the information will be kept confidential and all of the documentation will be submitted to the investigating judge," he said, adding that the institute "will issue an official statement next week regarding the autopsy."|

The autopsy was conducted by the National Institute of Forensic Medicine’s chief pathologist, Prof. [Yehuda] Hiss, in the presence of the chief pathologist of the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Saber Aloul, and the head of the Health Ministry's medical administration, Prof. Arnon Afek, he noted.

"The discrepancies between the various reports are a cause for alarm and there is the need for an unequivocal answer as to what actually happened and why there are discrepancies between the reports of the different pathologists," said Hadash MK Dov Khenin, who also questioned the functioning of the prison wing in which detainees are questioned, asserting that excessive violence was being employed there. "The placement of a prisoner suffering from severe back pains in a position that did not allow any movement whatsoever must be investigated,” added Khenin, referring to Jaradat.

 “The autopsy results will provide answers to all these questions. We have nothing to hide,"| said Aharonovitch. "The entire investigation is being conducted in accordance with what is required by law and nothing is being done in the dark."

In response to a question about the release of prisoners, the minister said that "the matter is being considered at present. There are no inmates in Israeli prisons who have not committed an offense.

"Everything is being done in the interests of national security. They [the Palestinian inmates] have been placed in prison because they have broken the law.”

Palestinians carrying the body of Arafat Jaradat during his funeral in the West Bank village of Se'eer near Hebron, February 25, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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