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UN calls for independent inquiry into Palestinian death

UN calls for independent inquiry into Palestinian death

United Nations: The United Nations has called for an independent inquiry into the death of a Palestinian in Israeli custody, warning that mounting tensions risk an eruption of violence in the occupied territories.

The Palestinians also demanded an independent investigation in a letter to the UN Security Council, which said that Arafat Jaradat, who died at the weekend, could have been tortured.

UN Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry made the call for an investigation in a statement yesterday after talks with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad on the Jaradat's death.

Serry noted that Israeli and Palestinian experts had examined the body.

"The United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr Jaradat's death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible," the envoy added.

Jaradat was detained on February 18 and died five days later.

Israeli prison authorities said Jaradat appeared to have died of a heart attack. But the Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs, Issa Qaraqaa, citing the preliminary findings of the joint autopsy, reported bruises on Jaradat's body, muscle damage and broken ribs.

A letter sent by Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad Mansour to the Security Council said the autopsy revealed that Jaradat "was subjected to severe beatings, abuse and medical negligence during his captivity, possibly amounting to torture."

The letter said Jaradat had six broken bones in his neck, spine, arms and legs, along with other injuries. Israel has said the prisoner could have suffered broken bones in attempts to resuscitate him after the heart attack.


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