The UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories Richard Falk called Wednesday on the international community to investigate the death [press release] of Palestinian Prisoner Arafat Jaradat. Jaradat died while in interrogations at an Israeli facility. Initially, Israel claimed the cause of death was a heart attack, but this was not included in the preliminary autopsy. Palestinian Authority's chief pathologist, Dr. Saber Aloul, also observed the autopsy and expressed concern that the body showed signs of torture. Given this discrepancy, Falk has urged that an independent international investigation [UN news center report] be conducted. Falk also reiterated Israel's obligation to deal with prisoners humanely in a way consistent with its obligations under humanitarian law.
Israel has been criticized for its treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and going on hunger strike to protest administrative detention by Israeli authorities has recently become a common tactic by Palestinian prisoners. Earlier this month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed concern [JURIST report] over reports that three Palestinians being held in Israeli custody are in poor health. UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk went further and called for the immediate release of the three men. In June Falk called on Israel to release two Palestinian detainees [JURIST report] who have been on hunger strike for 82 and 58 days to protest their administrative detention. Earlier in June Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged Israel to release all prisoners [JURIST report] of conscience and administrative detainees or immediately try them under international fair trial standards. In May UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to try or release more than 1,000 prisoners [JURIST report] who had been on hunger strike. Earlier that same month, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against [JURIST report] two detainees who had been on hunger strike in their appeal seeking release from detention. During the same month, Falk expressed his concern [JURIST report] for the continued human rights violations in Israel's prisons. He called on the country to comply with the international standards of how to treat detainees.