Israel’s Ministry of Health issued an interim finding in the autopsy of Arafat Jaradat [see our earlier post] — this time, after examination of microscopy and toxicology findings.
The microscopy results apparently showed no sign of heart attack. Therefore, the Israeli statement said, further tests will be conducted.
According to the Israeli statement, the only injuries appeared to be related to [“were consistent with“] a 50-minute attempt to resuscitate Jaradat, who had been undergoing days of harsh interrogation in Israeli custody.
The heart attack hypothesis was first announced by the Israeli Prison Services spokesperson Sivan Weizman, who was responding to inquiries from the media, just after Jaradat’s death was announced.
The Israel Prison Services said their staff began resuscitation efforts, then called in the MDA [Magen David Adom, or Red Star of David] to help try to resuscitate Jaradat.
From the Israeli Health Services statement today, we learn that resuscitation efforts went on for 50 minutes. This is long, but not unusual in the case of a person in his early 30s, according to one American doctor in Jerusalem.
The full statement of the Israeli Health Ministry, sent around by the Israeli Government Press Office [GPO, part of the Prime Minister’s Office] says: “National Center for Forensic Medicine Director Prof. Yehuda Hiss, Health Ministry Medical Administration Director Prof. Arnon Afek, and Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Pathology Institute Director Prof. Iris Barshack, today (Thursday, 28 February 2013), examined the microscopy findings for Arafat Jaradat. It was found that the hemorrhages and fractured ribs found during the autopsy occurred close to death and are characteristic of the resuscitation attempts that were performed on the deceased by Prison Service and MDA medical staff for 50 minutes in an effort to save his life. No signs of other contusions were found. The toxicology tests were also negative. There were no signs of significant change due to illness in other organs that could indicate cause of death; therefore, further tests to determine the cause will be performed”.
The funeral today in Sa’ir village, near Hebron, of Arafat Jaradat, who was beaten badly when detained near his home on 18 February — and whose lawyer saw him showing pain, fear and anxiety in court on 21 February — and who then died on 23 February.
This photo, taken by Yotam Ronen for Activestills, is posted in a slideshow published here:
Another photo shows Arafat Jaradat’s body minutes before the funeral – photo by Oren Ziv for Activestills, published in the same slideshow.
Addameer Prisoner Support organization, a Ramallah-based NGO, reported that the Israeli Army “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”. This report is published here
An autopsy was performed on Sunday at the Abu Kabir institute near Tel Aviv. There is no final autopsy report, yet. Palestinian officials were present at the autopsy — a first. Reuters reported here that “The Palestinian Authority state pathologist [Dr. Saber Al Aloul] was present at the autopsy on Jaradat’s body, which was carried out in Israel”. The Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqa’a and Palestinian Prisoners’ Society head Qaddoura Fares said at a press conference in Ramallah Sunday evening that Arafat Jaradat appeared to have been tortured, and most likely died of shock. They said there was no sign that Jaradat had a heart attack. Hours later, under pressure, the Israeli Government Health Ministry issued a statement saying: “This afternoon (Sunday, 24 February 2013), at the National Center for Forensic Medicine, an autopsy was performed on the body of Arafat Jaradat by Prof. Yehuda Hiss, in the presence of Prof. Arnon Afek, Director of the Health Administration at the Ministry of Health, and Palestinian pathologist Dr. Saber Aloul. During the autopsy, no signs of external trauma were found apart from those pertaining to resuscitation [attempts] and a small graze on the right side of his chest. No evidence of disease was found during the autopsy. Two internal hemorrhages were detected, one on the shoulder and one on the right side of the chest. Two ribs were broken, which may indicate resuscitation attempts. The initial findings cannot determine the cause of death. At this stage, until microscopic and toxicology reports are in, the cause of death cannot be tied to the autopsy findings”.
Reuters also reported that “An Israeli police spokesman said the investigation into Jaradat’s death was still ongoing”. This is posted here.
Whatever the cause of Arafat Jaradat’s death, Israeli military court in Jalameh allowed continued interrogation after he admitted charges of stone-throwing, and after his lawyer told the military court judge that Jaradat seemed fearful and unwell.
Even after Arafat Jaradat admitted stone-throwing charges [certainly by the hearing at which his lawyer was present on 21 February], and even after the warnings from Jaradat’s attorney, the judge ordered interrogation continued for 12 days. But, Jaradat died.
What possible justification can there be for allowing Arafat Jaradat’s interrogation to continue beyond his admission of charge against him?
Hussam Khader, a Fatah leader and activist from Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus, was freed today from 15 months’ Administrative Detention in Israel.
His lawyer, Jawad Bulous, who was appointed by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society headed by Qaddoura Fares, said that he had gone to Megiddo Prison in the morning to make sure that there would be no surprises. He said he left when he was sure — as sure as possible — that Hussam “will be sleeping in his own home tonight”.
Bulous explained that when Hussam had made his appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem in June, after one year in Administrative Detention, the military courts had already decided to give a three-month extension, which the State Prosecutor wanted to be extended to six months. According to Bulous, the Supreme Court panel of judges who heard Hussam’s appeal had denied the six-month extension — barring, as usual, any “new discoveries” by the security forces.
As there was nothing new, Hussam had to be freed, Bulous said. And, suddenly, finally, he was free.
Hussam Khader, a Fatah activist who was arrested in a 2am Israeli military raid on his home in Balata Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Nablus, in early June, faces an Israeli military court Sunday morning in Ofer Prison, located on Road 443 outside Jerusalem.
An Israeli military judge is expected to decide whether or not to confirm a 6-month Administrative Detention order handed down about ten days ago. The judge reportedly asked Israeli military prosecutors for a reason for 6-month sentence.
Administrative Detention orders are renewable almost endlessly.
Israeli-Arab lawyer Jawad Bulous has been hired to lead a team defending Khader. “As in all Administrative Detention cases, the situation is so bad”, Bulous said in a telephone interview. “We don’t know exactly what charges Hussam is suspected on. Nothing will be clear, even afterwards”.
Bulous said that “from my experience, I see this as a purely political arrest. At the same time, two other men — from Hamas — were also detained in Nablus, and this is a new wave of political arrests for political reasons”.
Hussam Khader’s family said that they thought it might be linked to his support for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. Or, it might have been linked to the June5 demonstrations that were held a few days after the arrests. All three of the men arrested that day, including Hussam, are well-known and active political activists.
But, Hussam’s family also insisted that Hussam was doing nothing wrong, and that all his contacts and activities were public.
Bulous said that the proceedings will be “not exactly open — they are held in a sealed inside hall”.
But, he said, “I will present my arguments in open. They will probably mention that Hussam is suspected of endangering public order and public security. Then they will submit a secret file to the judge, who will then make a decision”.
Hussam and his defense team will not know what evidence the secret file contains, Bulous added.