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Palestine demands intl. investigation into detainee’s death in Israeli prison

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Late Palestinian prisoner Nassar Taqataqa (Photo by Arabic-language SAFA news agency)

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has called for an international investigation into the death of a Palestinian prisoner in solitary confinement at a detention facility in the Israeli-occupied territories.

The ministry, in a statement released on Tuesday, said the Israeli regime and its security apparatus, including the Israel Prison Service (IPS), are fully responsible for the death of 31-year-old Nassar Taqataqa of Beit Fajjar town, located eight kilometers south of Bethlehem, at the Nitzan Prison two days earlier.

The statement then urged the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to form an international investigation committee to look into the reasons for Taqataqa’s death, and to provide legal and political protection to all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

“The indifference by the international community, its organizations and special councils toward Israeli violations and crimes encourage the occupying power to insist on committing such atrocities.

“The martyrdom of Taqataqa in interrogation cells demands an immediate action by the International Criminal Court and the opening of an official investigation into the crimes of the occupying power in order to pursue and prosecute Israeli war criminals,” the ministry pointed out.

Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, told Palestine's official WAFA news agency that Israeli forces detained Taqataqa about a month ago after raiding his family home. They initially moved him to the Kishon prison, also known as the al-Jalame detention center, for interrogation before he was put in solitary confinement at Nitzan Prison, where he passed away.

Jawad Thawabteh, a member of the Fatah movement, said Israeli forces brought Taqataqa handcuffed to his family house about two weeks ago to search it. He was severely beaten before being taken back to prison.

On February 8, a Palestinian prisoner died inside the Eshel Prison in Beersheba.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society confirmed the death of prisoner Yaser Hamed Ashtia, 36, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, pointing out that the circumstances of his death were not immediately known.

Late Palestinian prisoner Yaser Hamed Ashtia (Photo via Twitter)

Ashtia was detained by Israeli forces in 2009. He was sentenced to life imprisonment over alleged killing of a settler.

The development came only two days after Palestinian prisoner Fares Baroud died hours after being suddenly transferred to intensive care from Ramon prison in the occupied territories.

The late 51-year-old was suffering from a number of health conditions, including a hernia and liver disease, and had repeatedly spoken about medical neglect and denial of necessary health treatment to Palestinian inmates.

Baroud was arrested in 1991, and was supposed to be released in 2013 as part of negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Tel Aviv regime. Israeli officials, however, reneged on the agreement, refusing to release the final 30 prisoners, including him.

Some 7,000 Palestinians are currently behind bars in 17 Israeli prisons and detention centers, according to reports.

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