Palestinians hold Israel responsible after prisoner dies
A Palestinian prisoner died in Israeli detention on Wednesday evening just days after being arrested in the Shu’afat refugee camp north of Jerusalem.
Forty-three year old Abdo Khatib Al-Tamimi was detained last Sunday over a traffic violation, the Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported.
Al-Tamimi's family said they were informed by Israeli police that he had died of a heart attack at the notorious Russian Compound interrogation centre, also known as Al-Moskobiya.
The family hold Israeli authorities responsible for his death, claiming he was assaulted in custody.
Family members said that other detainees at the Russian Compound heard Al-Tamimi screaming as he was beaten by Israeli prison guards. They also said he was tasered by the guards.
The family denied Israeli reports that Tamimi died of natural causes, saying that he was in good health before his arrest.
Tamimi was married with four children and his wife is pregnant.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death and the family has demanded the right to oversee it.
The Palestinian Governorate of Jerusalem, as well as a Palestinian prisoner advocacy NGO, held the Israeli government and prison authorities responsible for Tamimi’s death.
In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, and several other NGOs said that "beating and torture which become fatal in many cases are now a normal affair for the [Israeli] occupation’s apparatus".
The statement called for the international community to "put an end" to "escalating Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people".
"It is necessary to investigate this crime, no matter what the cause of death was because those who carried out the detention and torture were soldiers and police from the prison administration and they all belong to the [Israeli] occupation government and its military apparatus," the statement added.
Israel currently holds an estimated 4,850 Palestinian prisoners in detention. Hundreds have been placed in administrative detention without charge or trial.
Human rights groups have previously documented the torture and abuse of scores of Palestinian prisoners at the Russian Compound interrogation centre.