Occupied Ramallah, 24 February 2013 – Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association mourns the death of Arafat Jaradat, a martyr of the prisoners movement who died in Megiddo Prison yesterday, 23 February 2013.
The Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) and the Shin Bet arrested the martyr Arafat Jaradat (30 years old) from his home in the small town of Sa’eer, near Al-Khalil (Hebron) at midnight on 18 February 2013, with claims that he threw stones at cars from a nearby settlement. Arafat was transferred to Jalameh Interrogation Center in the northern West Bank before being transferred to Megiddo Prison.
Mr. Kamil Sabbagh, Arafat’s lawyer from the Ministry of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoner’s Affairs who defended him in a court hearing at Jalameh on 21 February 2013, reported that Arafat was subjected to torture during his interrogation, including being forced to sit for long hours in stress positions with his hands shackled behind his back. Arafat suffered from pain in his back, and therefore, during the court hearing on 21 February, his lawyer requested that he be given a health examination due to the severe conditions that he was detained under. Despite this, the judge ruled to extend his detention for a further twelve days, reducing the prosecution’s request of a fifteen day extension by only three days. The judge also ordered that the medical officials in the interrogation center examine his psychological and physical health and to report the results to the Shin Bet and the court. Two days later, on Saturday 23 February 2013, it was learned that Arafat Jaradat had passed away in a special section for the Shin Bet in Megiddo Prison, under conditions which are still unclear.
Arafat’s family stated that their son was heavily beaten by the IOF during his arrest at the entrance of Sa’eer and that he was screaming from the difficult torture he was subjected to. The martyr’s wife, Ms. Dalal Ayayda, added that the intelligence officer that accompanied the IOF during the arrest requested that they allow him to return to his home for a moment to say goodbye to his wife and children. She considers this to be an indicator that his death in the prison was premeditated.
Arafat Jaradat was born on 14 January 1983. He was a student at Al Quds Open University, married with two children (Yara, 4 years old and Mohammad, 3 years old) and was expecting a third child with his wife in June. Since 2003, there have been 700 complains of torture in the Israeli Prisons, none of which have been investigated. There have been 53 deaths from medical neglect and 72 deaths resulting from torture in the Occupation’s prisons since 1967. Arafat’s death is the second this year that is attributed to Israeli detention; Ashraf Abu Dra’ was subjected to medical negligence during his detention and died on 21 January 2013 from a fatal coma shortly after his release.
Addameer holds the Occupation forces, including the judges in the military courts, the Israeli Prison Service the Shin Bet security services and the medical staff, completely responsible for the death of Arafat Jaradat. Addameer also expressed its utmost concern about the lives of all prisoners and detainees, especially those who continue their long-lasting hunger strikes, those who suffer from diseases and those who are subjected to medical neglect.
Addameer calls Ban Ki Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, to immediately form an international investigation committee to inquire about the conditions that the Palestinian prisoners suffer from in Israeli prisons and to monitor the torture practices used by security forces and the Israeli Prison Service.
Addameer warns that the silence of the international community reassures the Occupation’s impunity.
Addameer considers the death of Arafat Jaradat inside the prison a war crime as it violates the Geneva Convention IV, where torture is considered a violation to Articles 50, 51, 130, 147.
According to Article 85 from the Additional Protocol I in 1977, practices of torture are considered war crimes.
Addameer calls on Palestinian human rights organizations to create a unified Palestinian legal strategy to protect the lives of prisoners and detainees and to hold the occupying power accountable in all the legal ways possible, including boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Tomorrow, 25 February 2013, in response to Israel’s neglect of the Palestinian prisoners, including Arafat Jaradat and the hunger strikers who are nearing death, Addameer’s lawyers will join the Ministry of Prisoners Affairs and the Prisoners Club to boycott the Israeli military courts.