Autopsy of Palestinian Who Died in IDF Custody Shows He Was Not Beaten

Military says the autopsy disproves family's claim that Mohammad Zaghloul Arimawi was kicked until unconscious – but the family rejects the findings

The 24-year-old Palestinian man who died last week while in the army’s custody was not beaten, according to the autopsy report, the IDF said on Saturday.

The autopsy of Mohammad Zaghloul Arimawi, conducted at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in the presence of a Palestinian physician, ruled out any possibility that he died after being beaten by soldiers and losing consciousness. The cause of death is still under investigation.

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According to the army’s statement, Arimawi, who was arrested at his home in the West Bank village of Beit Rima, “was treated immediately and transported to the hospital accompanied by an IDF medical team, as they performed resuscitation efforts.” Medical officials told Haaretz that no signs of violence were found on the body.

Arimawi’s family rejected the army’s findings. His brother Bashir told Haaretz that according to the information the family had been given by a Palestinian pathologist, Arimawi had been struck in the chest and elsewhere on his body. Bashir Arimawi added that the family was sure Mohammad had been killed by violence perpetrated by soldiers.

Mohammad Zaghloul Arimawi.
Ma'an News Agency

The brother told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an that 40 Israeli soldiers raided their house near Ramallah. According to Bashir, several soldiers kicked Arimawi until he lost consciousness.

Bashir also said a Palestinian intelligence officer called the family on Tuesday and asked if Arimawi suffered from any pre-existing medical conditions. The family claimed he was healthy and was notified shortly after by Palestinian authorities that Arimawi had died without specifying the cause of death.

Bashir told Al-Dameer, a Palestinian group that supports Palestinian prisoners, that the soldiers kicked Mohammad and struck him with their rifle butts. The Palestinian Prisoners Club, an NGO supporting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, blamed Israeli authorities for Arimawi's death.