Senior UN official calls for investigation into death of Palestinian in Israeli detention

Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. UN/P. Filgueiras

25 February 2013 – A senior United Nations official today voiced concern about the death in Israeli detention of Arafat Jaradat and called for an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of the Palestinian’s death.

Mr. Jaradat, who was arrested on 18 February, died on Saturday, according to a statement released by the office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry.

“The Special Coordinator takes note of the preliminary findings of the autopsy that was conducted on Mr. Jaradat’s body with the participation of Israeli and Palestinian experts,” said the statement.

“The United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat’s death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible.”

Mr. Serry and Deputy Special Coordinator James W. Rawley discussed the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention today with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay have spoken out in recent days about Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody, particularly following reports of the fast deteriorating health conditions of several who have been on hunger strike.

“The United Nations remains concerned about the deteriorating health of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike, and reiterates that those held in administrative detention without charge should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or promptly released,” said today’s statement.

It added that the UN is closely monitoring the situation on the ground “where mounting tensions present a real risk of destabilization.”

“The United Nations appeals for maximum restraint by all parties to prevent further violence. The United Nations will continue engaging with the parties on the ground with a view to finding a solution that addresses the plight of prisoners and preserves the calm.”


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