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UN envoy seeks inquiry into Jaradat's death
Published Wednesday 27/02/2013 (updated) 05/03/2013 21:42
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Mourners carry the body of Arafat Jaradat during his funeral in Sair
near Hebron Feb. 25. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

GENEVA (Reuters) -- A UN human rights investigator called on Wednesday for an international inquiry into the weekend death of Arafat Jaradat, who Palestinian officials say was tortured to death in Israeli custody.

The death of 30-year-old Jaradat sparked widespread protests in the West Bank.

"The death of a prisoner during interrogation is always a cause for concern, but in this case, when Israel has shown a pattern and practice of prisoner abuse, the need for outside, credible investigation is more urgent than ever," Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, said in a statement.

Falk, an American law professor serving in the independent post, suggested the United Nations Human Rights Council might set up an international forensic team to investigate Jaradat's death.

Jaradat was arrested some 10 days ago on suspicion of throwing stones at Israeli cars in the West Bank. His death in an Israeli jail last Saturday, together with a hunger strike by four other prisoners, led to rioting in which six Palestinians were injured. One of them, a 15 year-old boy, was in critical condition.

Palestinian officials say an autopsy showed Jaradat died of extreme torture. Israel says the autopsy was inconclusive.

Falk said Dr Saber Aloul, the Palestinian Authority's chief pathologist who observed the autopsy, had found "clear signs of torture on the body of the previously healthy 30-year-old Jaradat".

"In light of Dr Aloul's findings that there was no evidence of heart disease or damage, and that there were signs of torture on Jaradat's body, an independent international investigation should be launched," Falk said.

The office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged Israel to conduct a full inquiry and reveal its findings.

"We strongly encourage Israeli authorities to carry out a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into his death. The results should, in our view, be made public," Pillay's spokesman Rupert Colville told Reuters on Wednesday.

"If reports suggesting he died from torture turn out to be true, then Israel must hold the perpetrators accountable by bringing criminal charges," Colville said.

For nearly a year, Israel has boycotted the Geneva forum, accusing it of long-standing bias against Tel Aviv.

On March 18, the council is due to take up a report by UN investigators who called on Israel last month to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all half a million Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank, saying that its practices could be subject to prosecution as possible war crimes.

The United States, Israel's main ally, accuses the council of unfairly singling out Israel.

"Until this Council ceases to subject Israel to an unfair and unacceptable bias, its unprincipled and unjust approach will continue to tarnish the reputation of this body, while doing nothing to support the progress toward the peace among Israelis and Palestinians that we all desire so deeply," Esther Brimmer, US assistant secretary of state, told the talks on Tuesday.
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1 ) Colin Wright / USA
27/02/2013 20:27
An INTERNATIONAL inquiry? But that wouldn't be the same as an Israeli 'inquiry.' Out of the question: the government can't compose the conclusion.

2 ) Actions & / Consequences
27/02/2013 21:21
Criminals belong in jail, for their entire prison term, and
NOT just until they starve themselves into an illness !!

3 ) Giacomo / USA
27/02/2013 21:27
http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/category/richard-falk/

4 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
27/02/2013 22:48
Since when was the UN ever truly interested in universal human rights? Looking only 200 km northeast of Jerusalem, we know what the answer is. As for you, Colin, I propose we use your American model (but without the millions of slaves you used to build your economy). Let's see - you used genocide to wipe out dozens of native nations so you could take their land, and put the rest on "reservations", while denying them the vote for over 100 years. It worked. You're still there! Where are they?

5 ) sam / usa
28/02/2013 04:44
death to israel and its handler-us

6 ) gabi / australia
28/02/2013 06:12
. . . or maybe he just fell over . . . . ? Yeah, right.

7 ) what about / inquiry into death
28/02/2013 07:18
of 60000 Syrians among them scores of palestinians?

8 ) gabi / australia
01/03/2013 00:58
Brian Cohen at it again - "look what you did (way back then) so don't criticise us now". Pathetic. Particularly from someone living in a state that always claims the high moral ground. You will probably say much the same to me - go ahead - but at least our indigenous people get the vote. BIG DIFFERENCE!

9 ) Reader / from Edmonton
02/03/2013 10:40
Actions and Consequences: Ariel Sharon rots in his deeds. The wages of sin is death.

10 ) Reader / from Edmonton
02/03/2013 11:01
What about deflecting the dispossession, murder, and subjugation of the Palestinian people?
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