In light of findings of Arafat Jaradat autopsy, PCHR calls for independent International investigation

pchr_1The autopsy report prepared by Dr Saber al-‘Aloul, Director of the Palestinian Medico-legal Institute on Arafat Jaradat, a Palestinian detainee who died in an Israeli prison, has concluded that Jaradat’s death was caused by nervous shock resulting from severe pain, which was caused by multiple injuries inflicted through direct and extreme torture.

Arafaf Shalish Shaheen Jaradat, 30, from Sa’ir village northeast of Hebron in the southern West Bank, died in Megiddo Prison inside Israel on Saturday, 23 February 2013. Israeli authorities claimed that he died due to an apparent heart attack, but the Palestinian Authority and numerous human rights organisations raised doubts concerning the Israeli narrative, and are calling for an independent investigation into Jaradat’s death.

An autopsy of Jardat’s body was performed in the Israeli National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir in the presence of Dr Saber al-‘Aloul and two Israeli physicians on the day after his death. Contrary to Israeli claims that Jaradat died due to an apparent heart attack, the autopsy showed, according to the Palestinian physician’s report, that “the heart muscle is perfectly healthy; no signs of harm or signs of a recent or previous myocardial infarction […]” The report indicated that there were multiple injuries on Jaradat’s body. For example, the report stated: There are recent excoriations and bruising on the inside of the lower lip; there is severe bruising on the upper right back; there are circle-shaped bruises on the bottom of the front right side of the chest; there is bruising on the facis lateralis brachii of the left elbow; there is bruising on the back of the right arm; there are deep bruises, 4×9 centimetre in diameter, on the muscle of the upper left shoulder, adjacent to the spine, below the neck; the bruises damaged the tissue of the muscle; there are 4×10 centimetre bruises on the right side of the chest; the bruises penetrated the skin and caused damage to the muscle tissue; they were located 27 centimetres from the spine, 53 centimetres below the top of the head; there is a fracture in the second and third ribs on the front left side with bruises around the fracture; and there is a fracture in the second rib on the front right side of the chest. The report emphasised that all fractures or wounds were recent, that the injuries were severe, and had resulted from direct and extreme torture.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) stresses that torture is an international crime that amounts to a crime against humanity and it constitutes a blatant violation of human rights, which can never be justified under any circumstance. It is prohibited under several international instruments, including the Convention against Torture of 1984, which was ratified by Israel in 1991, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

According to PCHR’s documentation, this case is part of a phenomenon in which thousands of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons and detention facilities are subjected to torture by Israeli security services.

In light of the above, PCHR:

1- Calls for establishing an international inquiry to investigate the circumstances of Jaradat’s death in Megiddo prison;

2- Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to refer this case to the UN Committee against Torture;

3- Calls upon the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to investigate this incident, which highlights a pervasive phenomenon in Israeli prisons and detention facilities;

4- Calls upon the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967 to follow up this case and report on it to the United Nations; and

5- Calls on the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the international community to put pressure on Israel to put an end to the use of torture and to open prisons and detention facilities for monitoring.